Shanghala claims family ties to ACC’s Kanyangela

Eba Kandovazu

DISGRACED former Justice Minister Sakeus Shanghala today said in the High Court that he and the lead investigator in the fishrot saga from the Anti Corruption Commission, Andreas Kanyangela are related.

Shanghala, through his lawyer Vas Soni, said his great aunt is married to Kanyangela’s uncle and that there is a family dispute relating to a house. However, Kanyangela denies there is any family relationship between them, but acknowledges that there is a dispute about a house. Sanghala said Kanyangela has an “antagonist” attitude towards him because of the dispute.

Soni added that the dispute ended at the office of the Ombudsman last year. Kanyangela, who was under cross examination also said that although Johaness Stefansson, the fishrot whistleblower, is a crucial witness in the case, the anti-graft body will still be able to prove its case against the suspects, without their star witness. Former Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, James Hatuikulipi, Mike Nghipunya, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelula, Ricardo Gustavo and Nigel van Wyk as well as Shanghala are charged in the corruption and money laundering case.

Kanyangela said today that the length of the trial will depend on how the case is being handled and the circumstances.

“Although the two cases have a lot of witnesses, there are a few who may stand in the dock for a longer period while others are just witnesses confirming the payments made to them or services they have rendered and will not take up much time in the witness dock. That will shorten the trial. The ones that will take longer are less than 20. The cases have a lot of documents but the trial will not take a long time to complete,” Kamyangela assured.

Senior counsel Thabang Phatela, who represents Nghipunya, accused Kanyangela of undermining Nghipunya’s Bachelor of Economics degree. The state is charging that Nghipunya was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Fishcor unprocedurally, in that the vacancy was not advertised. Nghipunya also did not have managerial experience, according to the prosecution.

“My client’s Bachelor of Economics is a prestigious qualification. He also now holds an International Management Masters degree. Do you look down on this outstanding achievement of my client? Whatever views you have on the appointment of Nghipunya are not backed up by legal requirements,” Phatela argued.

Despite the ACC saying that Nghipunya’s appointment was irregular, Soni, who represents James Hatuikulipi and Shanghala also reiterated that no law requires that the position be advertised, adding that the appointment is solely at the discretion of the board members.

Esau, Tamson, van Wyk and Gustavo are not part of the bail proceedings. Judge Shafimana Ueitele is presiding.

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