MIKE Nghipunya’s lawyer, Thabang Phatela has accused the Anti Corruption Commission of intimidating witnesses to give favourable statements that would strengthen its case. Phatela protested in court today that his client only invoiced companies for which he provided consultancy services contrary to claims made by witnesses such as Novanam.provided the services for which he invoiced business entities for which he provided consultancy services.
Jose Ramon Canosa, the Manager of NovaNam, a company that bought fishing quotas from a Fishcor subsidiary said that although millions had to be paid to be paid to Gwanyemba Investment Trust, which belongs to, Nghipunya, Gwanyemba did not provide consultancy services to NovaNam.
Wanakadu Investment, and Fine Seafood Investment Trust also did not provide services to NovaNam, despite invoicing the company. “Services were rendered and he knows. All the invoices were for consultancy services offered by my client. Your argument is that upon receiving the invoices, he did not read the contents. Did you confirm that he really didn’t read the contents of the invoices? If you find that he actually scrutinized these invoices, what will you tell the court,”? Phatela remarked, questioning whether or not the ACC has a quality assurance department to fact check witness statements. ACC investigator Andreas Kanyangela says that Nghipunya had time to explain what services he rendered, but failed to do so, before he was arrested.
“This witness has a serious credibility problem. He is not an honest witness and you did a poor job in assessing his statement which you rely on, by denying my client bail. At the end of my cross examination, I will argue that the court in the assessment of the strength of your case should not rely on this witness as he has demonstrated a high level of unreliability,” Phatela argued.
He also accused the ACC of intimidating witnesses to provide “favorable” statements and to change their version of events relating to fishrot. According to Canosa, Nghipunya referred to the payments to the third-party entities as ‘management fees’, ‘facilitation fees’ and consultation fees’.
“My understanding was that payment to the third-party entities was part of the negotiated cost of the quota and for Nghipunya to facilitate getting the quota for NovaNam. For that NovaNam paid a consultation fee,” Canosa said in his evidence. Nghipunya is also accused of having implied to Louise Fernandez, the CEO of Low-Key Investment, a company that received fishing quotas aimed for governmental objectives “that is how business is done in
Namibia”, after he requested that Lowkey to pay money into the account of a company he co-owns with his fishrot co-accused Phillipus Mwapopi, Wanakadu investment. This, Fernandez said, was despite the fact that no services were rendered by Wanakadu investments. Nghipunya is seeking bail alongside his co-accused Sacky Shanghala,
James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula, Mwapopi and Otneel Shuudifonya. The bail application continues tomorrow morning before Judge Shafimana Ueitele.