Fitty’s application for bail appeal fails

Niël Terblanché

Tamson ’Fitty’ Hatuikulipi, one of the six main characters in the Fishrot corruption saga, will not be able to appeal against a decision by a high court judge that denied him bail shortly after Christmas last year.

Earlier on Wednesday Judge David Munsu delivered his ruling in which he refused Hatuikulipi’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Namibia. The judge also struck the matter from the roll.

Hatuikulipi approached the High Court about two weeks ago with an application to appeal against the judge’s decision. On the 13th of April, Judge Munsu postponed the matter to yesterday to deliver his ruling after he heard arguments for and against the application.

The application for appeal to the Supreme Court of Namibia was denied on the grounds of the fact that new facts presented during the applicant’s second formal bid for bail do not apply and when old facts were considered against new facts, the basis on which bail was refused did not change.

“Therefore, I find that the applicant does not enjoy any prospects of success on the appeal and his applications should accordingly fail,” Judge Munsu stated.

On 27 December the judge ruled that no bail could be granted to the applicant after he concluded that the State has a strong case against Hatuikulipi who faces amongst others charges related to fraud, bribery, racketeering and money laundering.

Hatuikulipi stands accused of being involved in a scheme to divert revenue accrued by manipulating governmental objective fishing quotas to himself and the five other main characters in the corruption scandal.

At the time of denying bail to the applicant, Judge Munsu argued that long incarceration does not automatically qualify trial awaiting prisoners for bail. Hatuikulipi has been in custody since his arrest in November 2019.

The judge was of the opinion that the seriousness of charges faced by an accused person as well as the strength of the prosecuting authority’s case are facts that have to be considered by any officer of the court presiding over such applications.

Hatuikulipi decided to appeal against the judge’s ruling because he felt that the presiding officer did not properly consider the deterioration of his personal circumstances during the time he spent in jail.

The applicant further argued that the judge made an error when he found that the length of his incarceration and being in custody during a protracted trial are new facts that needed to be considered.

The judge, however, ruled that the applicant failed to show that he is a good candidate for being freed on bail.

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