ANDREW KATHINDI

Defence lawyer, Richard Metcalfe, who represents former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau in the Fishrot case, has accused state prosecution of delaying the case.

According to Metcalfe, the state has known since 19 February, 2021, that their extradition application for Icelandic nationals who are implicated in the Fishrot scandal, was declined.

According to Iceland’s Extradition of Criminals and Other Assistance in Criminal Proceedings Act, “Icelandic citizens may not be extradited unless the request stems from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.” Prosecutor General, Martha Imalwa, had indicated that she wants Samherji employees, Ingvar Júlíusson, Egill Helgi Árnason and Adalsteinn Helgason brought before court for their alleged involvement in bribes and corruption.

Esau, along with former Justice Minister, Sacky Shangala, former Fishcor Charperson, James Hatuikulipi, former Fishcor Chief Exectuive Officer (CEO), Mike Nghipunya, Tamson Hatuikulip, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya, Philipus Mwapopi, along with 17 others, including entities they are affiliated to, are accused of funnelling millions of State funds for personal gain. Metcalfe further said that the State’s insistence to extradite lawyer, Meren de Klerk, from South Africa has further delayed the case as de Klerk had written a statement indicating his willingness to serve as a witness.

The South African government confirmed to Windhoek Observer last week that extradition process for de Klerk had begun.

De Klerk is alleged to have been a paymaster in what has been dubbed as the Fishrot scandal using his legal firm. “De Klerk has not been charged. There are two other attorneys who also provided statements to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and have not been treated so.”

“I have also been contacted by two witnesses who told me that they have provided any affidavit. Which means that the State’s investigation is still not complete.”

The Windhoek Observer recently reported that in a leaked Nangomar Pesca docket, former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, current Home Affairs Minister, Albert Kawana, and Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab, are among those to be summoned to the witness stand.

During the pre-trial at the High Court, the date for ruling of the joinder application, in which the State Prosecutor, Ed Marondedze, wishes to adjoin the Fishcor case and the Namgomar cases, has been set for 22 July, after representatives of James Diedericks, who represents Shanghala and James Hatuikulipi, indicated that they wish to oppose the joinder.

Judge Christie Liebenberg quizzed on why a notice to oppose had not yet been filed and ordered that a notice be filed by Friday, 18 June.

The accused have been remanded in custody until their next appearance in court.