Kanime hunts for Fishrot accused officer . . . as no action has been taken to extradite Meren de Klerk

Andrew Kathindi

City police boss Abraham Kanime has told Windhoek Observer that his office will investigate Officer Phillipus Mwapopi, who has been implicated in the Fishrot scandal, but he first needs to find him.

This comes as Prosecutor General (PG), Martha Imalwa has decided to charge in the High Court the Fishrot accused, which includes former Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau, former Justice Minister, Sacky Shangala and Fishcor board chairperson James Haitukulipi, along with three new names including Shangala’s lawyer Meren de Klerk, officer Mwapopi and northern businessman, Otneel Shuudifonya, along with eight close corporations and trusts connected to the Fishrot accused.

“I learned about it yesterday. I am still looking for him. It’s a straightforward situation. We have regulations and once there is such an allegation of such level of criminality, obviously we also have to take our own investigation and take appropriate action,” said Kanime.

The case is headed to the High Court on 22 April 2021 for pre-trial, after investigations were completed. It is unclear what role officer Mwapopi played in the Fishrot scandal, amid indications he had links to one of the Fishrot accused.

Kanime was however reluctant to say whether officer Mwapopi will be suspended while investigations are ongoing.

“Why should I talk about a suspension if investigation is not done? It’s not me to decide, it’s a team that will be assigned.”

He added, “It’s also not based on what I want, it should be based on the regulations. It will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken.”

This comes as Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab revealed that her ministry was still to be approached by the Prosecutor General’s Office and Nampol for the extradition of controversial lawyer de Klerk who left the country earlier this year.

“There is no request to extradite from PG or NamPol. We consulted the PG today (Tuesday) about it today. We are waiting,” Dausab told Windhoek Observer.

This comes as the defense lawyer for Esau and his son in law Tamson “Fitty” Hatuikulipi, Richard Metcalfe had complained that the state was taking too long to complete its investigations and extradite those they wished to implicate.

Several of the Fishrot accused have been in custody since November last year.

“They have had 18 months and they have not concluded anything yet. And also, we have no knowledge whether they’ve issued warrants of arrest for the persons whom they wish to extradite,” according to Metcalf.

He added, “The other problem that they have is that we have no extradition treaty with Iceland. So, I really don’t know how they’re going to get the extradition to take place. So again, we’re just going to have these inordinate delays, while the accused languish in custody and make a circus of justice.”

This as, according to media reports, arrest warrants had been issued for Samherji employees Ingvar Juliusson and Egil Arnsason, who are also implicated in the Fishrot matter.

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