“I was flabbergasted by the fact that they decided to sink that low, especially with that leaflet, and it was clear where it came from.
“They have become political and it reminds me of the days when the DTA would distribute leaflets from a plane to influence the mind-set of the people against the liberation struggle and individuals in the struggle like our Founding President,” Esau said.
The fisheries minister said the entire saga was politically motivated and stated that this kind of propaganda had happened in Zimbabwe and several other African states.
“Maybe they thought I would be history after the electoral college and were counting on me being gone by next year, but since I won’t be going anywhere they have resorted to these dirty tactics of propaganda.”
The publication of the newsletter comes after the minister took the decision to allocate a portion of the horse mackerel quota that the ministry previously awarded to Namsov, among some of the newer fishing companies in the industry.
Among the companies that received a significant amount of horse mackerel rights was Omualu Fishing, which Esau said his ministry had rewarded for investing in the industry by purchasing a vessel.
The colourful eight-page newsletter published in a local daily, among other accusations, alleged that Esau had an interest in Omualu Fishing, but Esau refuted the claim.
“Not at all, not even an iota of a share in Omualu. Yes, I have given them a right because I can grant a right, and in terms of the Act, I don’t have to go to Cabinet to grant a right. What I did do was to consult with my president.
“I am very careful with how I grant rights. It’s in my nature to be very careful in excising my duties and I give a right where a right is due, and I would not do unnecessary things like dishing out rights left right and centre.
“Whenever I allocate quotas, I allocate them to right holders as well as non-right holding entities.
“A pro rata formula exists when it comes to right holders and we implemented this some time back, even before we started discussing industrialisation or even value addition.
“There were only two operating companies in the past that had a duopoly where all the right holders had to enter into a catch arrangement with these two companies and therefore it was not a competitive environment,” Esau said.
He said Namsov still had a big chunk of the quota allocated by the ministry. In addition, Namsov as a group also still had the largest allocation from the reserve quota.
Esau stressed that he was not in any way killing Namsov’s business by reducing the company’s quota as claimed by the publication.
“It is not even significantly reduced according to our calculations. In fact they received 9 percent as opposed to the 13 percent which they normally get.
“They also claim to have laid off two hundred workers, but the associate companies within their group also claim to have employed 200 workers. Therefore, one does not know who employs the 200, which makes the figure questionable,” he said.
Namsov did not answer questions about whether they had any association with Oshili Nashi Popiwe.
Speaking on behalf of Namsov on Thursday Tuna Willem said the company would not address questions requesting them to clarify whether or not they were authors of the publication.
“We would like to advise that our dealings with Hon. Esau are not on a public platform, but have been formally undertaken with him. We are currently awaiting the Hon. Minister’s formal feedback on the matter on which we have applied.
“Our engagement with the Hon. Minister remains professional and [we are] optimistic for a favourable outcome that will be beneficial to all stakeholders. Our doors remain open for a progressive resolution,” Willem said.
Esau highlighted that he had no direct or indirect interest in any fishing company, and therefore the accusation that he has compromised himself in allocating quotas was baseless.
The publication also accused the Minister of Justice Utoni Nujoma of having interests in Omualu, but Esau said he had no knowledge of Nujoma’s involvement in the company.
“Even if he did, there is nothing wrong with that as every Namibian has the right to do business, and as long as he or she declares his interest there is nothing wrong. We declare twice to the president and then in parliament to the speaker,” he explained.