Fishrot accused win case against Imalwa

WINDHOEK: The Windhoek High Court on Monday refused an application by Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa to appoint South African curators as administrators of assets belonging to incarcerated Fishrot suspects.

The Fishrot accused challenged Imalwa’s nomination to appoint South African curators Johan Engelbrecht and Coenraad Stander of Icon Insolvency Practitioners (Pty) Ltd.

Former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, former Investec Asset Management Managing Director, James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo who are implicated in the fishing scandal instead want local curators, Harald Hecht and Pierre Knoetze, to be appointed.

Judge Orben Sibeya has ordered that Hecht and Knoetze be appointed as curators, replacing Ian Mclaren and David Brunei, who terminated their services.

‘The Prosecutor-General must pay the costs of the defendants’ counter-application together with the costs of the defendants for opposing her appli
cation. Such costs are to include costs of one instructing and one instructed counsel,’ Sibeya ordered.

In court documents, Imalwa however said that the two nominees, Hecht and Knoetze wrote a proposal to her in September last year, about their unwillingness to wait for years – depending on the criminal trial’s finalisation – before they can be paid for their services.

Shanghala and his co-accused were arrested in 2019 over alleged corruption in the allocation of fishing quotas in exchange for bribes.

Represented by South African lawyer Vas Soni, the suspects argued that Imalwa’s nominees will be based outside the country, causing serious operational and logistical challenges. They also argued that such an appointment has never been made in Namibia and that the fees that will be charged will be increased considerably.

‘The question arises as to why unusually a firm from outside Namibia ought to be appointed,’ Soni argued.

Imalwa indicated in court documents that she has not been able to secure a nominati
on for a Namibian curator, but ‘managed to find two suitable South African curators.’

Sibeya’s full judgment will be made available at a later stage.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency