Swapo urged to open books amidst Fishrot storm

Eba Kandovazu

RENOWNED Public Policy analyst, Marius Kudumo, has called on the Swapo Party to hire independent auditors to investigate their books for transparency amidst the Fishrot scandal in which the ruling party is accused of dubiously benefiting with millions under the disguise of governmental objectives from the Fish Corporation (Fishcor).

Kudumo says although the party is distancing itself from allegations that it received over N$75 million as per the testimony of former Fishcor Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mike Nghipunya, the party ought to dispute the allegations with factual and tangible evidence.

Although Nghipunya strongly suggested that the money was received by Swapo, the State, represented by Advcocate Cliff Lutibezi, says the party only received an N$ 6 million, saying that the rest of the money was misappropriated by the Fishrot suspects.

To date Swapo Party Secretary General (SG), Sophia Shaningwa, has been denying that the party received any such monies. Nghipunya previously testified during his bail application that the money was used for the Presidential campaign, and was overseen by former Investec Asset Management Managing Director (MD), James Hatuikulipi, and his best friend, former Justice Minister, Sacky Shanghala. The two, according to Nghipunya were appointed by then Swapo Party SG, Nangolo Mbumba, to manage the funds. Nghipunya said that Bernard Esau, former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, allocated fishing quotas for the benefit of Swapo, under governmental objectives.

“If indeed the party received Fishrot money and that money was not disclosed, that would be illegal in terms of the law. It creates legitimacy questions about the party and the law. The law is clear on party donations and disclosing of donors. The problem we have in Namibia is undermining the intelligence of people. Swapo was supposed to analyse the situation and anticipate what was coming. You cannot continue with a denial narrative and think people will just believe. Unfortunately, the party name was tainted and it is hard for people to believe the party at this stage because the allegations are contained in sworn affidavits in court. What the party should do is dispute the claims with factual findings,” Kudumo says.

Kudumo adds that an independent investigation by the party would determine whether or not money indeed landed into the party’s account or whether or not it was received by an individual account(s) to advance a particular agenda.

“The principles of transparency and openness should be the guiding force. Swapo is the governing party and should openly address these. If you do not demonstrate these principles, it will unfortunately have implications on governance,” he says.

Meanwhile, Swapo’s //Kharas Coordinator, Mathew Mumbala, challenges Nghipunya to prove the allegations. According to him, the money was “probably” stolen by individuals using the party’s name to enrich themselves.

“It is like you at home. If you want something from your neighbours for example, you use your parents name. Swapo is an entity with people who have their own personalities. Therefore, they should say who and which account received that money. Until that has been proven, I say the allegations are not true. We do not have that money and I have never heard of such donations,” Mumbala says.

The bail application by Nghipunya, alongside Shanghala, Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi has been postponed by Judge Shafimana Ueitele to next January. Meanwhile, Ricardo Gustavo will be applying for bail tomorrow morning until Friday before Judge Herman Oosthuizen. He is represented by Trevor Brockerhoff.

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