Namsov strikes again

03 October 2014 Author  

Front Noa 03 Oct 2014THE battle between the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau and fishing giant Namsov has escalated following the launch of a criminal investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) into the actions of the minister.

In a letter dated 24 September 2014, addressed to the Permanent Secretary of Fisheries Ulitala Hiveluah, the Director of the ACC Paulus Noa requested her to provide his office with certain information.

“This office is busy with investigations of reports of corrupt practices with regard to the appointment of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia.

“And also the subsequent awarding of a 10,000 metric tonne fishing quota to the said corporation.

“In order to pursue investigation into the said allegation, the ACC requests your office to provide us with copies of the relevant documents of the National Fishing Corporation,” the letter reads.

By reporting Esau to the ACC, Namsov has shown that it is prepared to go to great lengths in its crusade to tarnish the public image of the minister after he reduced the company’s fishing quota..

The company started its vilification campaign against the minister by reporting him to President Hifikepunye Pohamba through the Governor of the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua.

Following that first failed attempt, Namsov then lodged a case with the High Court.

Then for two consecutive weeks, the company allegedly circulated a publication accusing the minister and his ministry of corruption at the expense of the industry.

Observers see the letter to the ACC as a mere extension of the civil case, as the documentation the ACC has requested from the ministry for review is identical to supporting documents the High Court requested from Namsov.

In an interview on Thursday, the ACC director said his office had the legal right to investigate the allegations because the matter was civil in nature as opposed to a criminal one.

“There is absolutely nothing that prevents any person from reporting what they feel could be criminal activity regarding the case to the ACC, or even the Namibian police,” he said.

Noa gave a vague answer when asked if his office would investigate anything other than the matters raised in the letter.

He only said that the investigation was in its infancy and his office was still trying to establish if there was a case or not.

He was also not forthcoming when asked who the complainant was stating that the file was not at his desk and therefore he could not say with certainty whether Namsov laid the complaint.

Noa did, however, point out that the media had already published the same allegations as those reported to his office, and that in all likelihood the same person who went to the media came to the ACC as well.

“According to what has been reported the claims implicate the minister, but I would not be able to say whether the allegations we are investigating implicate the minister,” Noa said.

Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Esau said his ministry would not provide the information required or comment as the matter was before the courts, and therefore sub-judice.

Namsov would not confirm or deny whether it had instigated the ACC investigation adding that they could not answer on behalf of the ACC regarding its operations, nor its activities.  

“However, we can confirm that Namsov has lodged a case at the High Court of Namibia against the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of which the matter is at present sub-judice.

“Both the High Court of Namibia and the Anti-Corruption Commission are public institutions that are mandated to assist the public, therefore kindly refer all your questions to them,” Namsov replied.

It further appears that Namsov enjoys the support of certain potential Cabinet ministers following the outcome of the SWAPO party electoral college, who are equally involved in the attacks on Esau.

Sources within the Ministry of Fisheries have alluded to the fact that Namsov with its deep pockets has allegedly infiltrated the ministry and even used junior staff members to leak documents and cook figures.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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