Fishermen protest against ‘fishrot’ accused
Jobless fishermen demand action
03 December 2019 | Crime
Approximately 300 fishermen held a peaceful demonstration outside the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay earlier today.
The fishermen, who are all unemployed due to retrenchments that took place in the fishing industry during the last five years, held placards reading “no bail for Esau and Shanghala and others”, “Esau, Shanghala and others are corrupt sell outs”.
On the occasion an independent labour consultant and former regional organiser of the Metal Mining Maritime and Construction (MMMC) workers’ union under NANLO (Namibia National Labour Organisation), Petrus Immanuel expressed his dismay at how the fishing industry in the country is run.
He called on the judicial system to deal with the accused in the ‘fishrot scandal’ like they would with any other citizen.
“We found out that people like the former minister of justice Sacky Shanghala and the former minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernhard Esau are the people who are involved in the scandal of manipulating the fishing industry for their own benefit.”
According to Immanuel, there are more questions begging for answers.
“The Asian fishing company, known in Namibia as ArticNam Fishing, has been receiving quotas from former fisheries and marine resources minister Bernhard Esau. This company is in it for their benefit while the Namibians that worked for it are on the streets because they can no longer afford to pay them salaries.”
Immanuel accused the company of retrenching 46 Namibian employees and re-employing casual employees saying that they didn’t have funds to pay the Namibian employees anymore.
“This company was however paying the ministers for their own benefit,” he said.
Immanuel also suggested that lawyer, Sisa Namandje, who appears to be involved in the scandal and is implicated in the documentary “The Anatomy of a Bribe” aired on the international news station Al Jazeera recently, should be suspended from practicing law until the investigation is complete.
“Another thing that is very important and frustrating is as a top legal lawyer in Namibia, Namandje is also part of this scandal. His licence should be suspended until the investigation is done. There are a lot more people involved in this than we think.”
He pointed out that if it was an ordinary person who did what the accused did, they would all have been in jail.
“We ask the Namibian government to suspend Sisa Namandje’s licence. He must not be allowed to practice law in this country because of the corrupt activities he is implicated in.”
The “fishrot” accused include former minister of justice, Sacky Shangala, former minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernhard Esau, former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi, businessman Fitty Hatuikulipi, Investec Asset Management senior employee Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo.
The accused men’s defence lawyers and the State agreed not to proceed with the bail hearing when they made their first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Monday on counts of corruption, fraud and money-laundering involving more than N$150 million.
The matter was postponed to 20 February 2020 to allow further investigations and the accused will remain in custody at Seeis, east of Windhoek, until bail is granted.