Ex-ministers To Spend New Year In Custody

A close up shot of a pair of handcuffs on a table.
Two former ministers and four others accused of taking bribes to offer fishing rights in Namibia’s biggest corruption scandal will spend the New Year in custody after a court dismissed their urgent release application on Friday.

Reuters reports that the six are accused of conspiring to receive 100 million Namibian dollars (e6.8 million dollars) in kickbacks from subsidiaries of Iceland’s biggest fishing company Samherji to secure quotas.

They sought to have the charges of fraud, laundering and tax evasion dismissed because of faulty process in their arrests, which they argued were unlawful and politically motivated.

“The Namibian constitution should not become subservient to the public as well as political pressures,” their lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi had argued at the Windhoek High Court.

However, acting judge Kobus Miller ruled that the application did not meet requirements to be heard as an urgent matter due to delays in the request.

Former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala and fisheries minister Bernardt Esau, along with two former employees of South Africa’s financial services firm Investec, have been in custody for a month awaiting trial.

 

The next hearing is scheduled for February 20, 2020.

NAN

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