Wanted: Fishrot officer on the run … as De Klerk extradition process begins

Andrew Kathindi

City Police Chief Abraham Kanime has revealed to Windhoek Observer that officer Phillipus Mwapopi is on the run after he was charged for his involvement in the Fishrot scandal.

This comes as the City Police boss earlier this week, revealed that investigations would be opened against officer Mwapopi.

“He’s on the run. If I happened to have found him at the office, we would have arrested him. I haven’t yet talked with the other investigators, however,” Kanime told Windhoek Observer.

Kanime confirmed that Mwapopi has not been to the office since being fingered in the Fishrot scandal.

Mwapopi becomes the second suspect appearing to have fled justice after lawyer Meren De Klerk left for South Africa earlier this year following the arrests of the Fishrot accused, former Marines Minister Bernard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson “Fitty” Hatuikulipi and Fishcor Board Chairman James Hatuikulipi and never returned after being questioned by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

It is unclear whether the “fugitives” elusive state is likely to delay the case further. The first of the Fishrot accused were first arrested in November last year.

Officer Mwapopi, along with former Justice Minister Sacky Shangula’s lawyer Meren De Klerk and a northern businessman, Otneel Shuudifonya, have been added to a growing list of those charged in the Fishrot scandal.

Mwapopi and Shuudifonya’s roles in the scandal are unclear. However, de Klerk is believed to have used his law firm to launder state funds meant for state firm Fishcor.

In a new development, Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa told the Windhoek Observer that her office has begun the process to extradite De Klerk from South Africa.

“We are in the process of preparing and drafting the documents.”

The Prosecutor General, last week, decided to arraign the Fishrot accused before the High Court and the case is set for pre-trial on 22 April 2021.

Defense lawyer, Richard Metcalf appearing for Esau and his son-in-law had complained about the delays in the case heading to trial.

“They have been investigating since 2014. I know that in 2018 Johannes Stefansson came to liaise with the Finance Ministry and had two affidavits. They have had 18 months and they have not concluded anything yet. We have no knowledge whether they’ve issued warrants of arrest for the persons whom they wish to extradite,” according to Metcalf.

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