AG backs Esau

28 August 2015 Author  

front 28 esau AugustThe Office of the Attorney General has dismissed attempts by disgruntled players in the lucrative fishing industry to have the powers of the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau stripped.

 

This comes after nameless individuals sent a dossier to President Hage Geingob alleging malpractices in the allocation of fishing quotas.

The document titled, ‘Violation of the Marine Act 27 of 2000 by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources-The Facts’, was delivered to President Geingob, who then forwarded it to the AG’s office for scrutiny.

The document alleges that investors in the fisheries sector are frightened by the “worrisome symptoms of favouritism, nepotism, corruption, lack of transparency and pure kleptocracy,” among other allegations which have previously been dealt with in court last year.

The dossier recommended that the allocation of fishing quotas and the renewal of fishing rights should be handled by a tribunal consisting of men and women of understanding and repute.

However, the office of the Attorney General dismissed the allegations and recommendations contained in the dossier as an attempt to usurp the minister’s powers.

“This dossier is no more than an attempt by someone to keep hold of a historical advantage and continue to enjoy their profits at the expense of the nation which they purport to seek to protect,” a letter from the AG’s office states.

“The recommendation of the setting of a tribunal to handle allocations appears to be aimed at dismantling not only the ministry’s process but at effectively stripping the minister of the powers accorded to him by an Act of parliament.

“Clearly this is an attempt by a disgruntled party who cannot sway the minster his way to dins a way around the allocation that now take into account the new entrants into the industry. The motives are self-serving.”

The Office of the AG said the author of the dossier appear to be aimed at attacking Esau for allegedly applying the Act differently from “the previous ministers”.

 “The tone of the document is not only disparaging and inflammatory but is also defamatory in nature.

“The use of terms such as favouritism, nepotism, corruption, lack of transparency and kleptocracy are clearly meant to do damage to the repute of not only the minister but the ministry as a whole,” the office of the Attorney General said.

It added that the quota allocations arising from bilateral agreements between the ministry of fisheries and other countries were initially challenged in court last year, but the challenges were withdrawn after they were explained and the agreements were made available.

“These agreements are gazetted and therefore legal in compliance with the relevant statutes regulating the fishing industry.

“It is therefore not only misguided but mischievous to allege that entities such as Beiramor and Marazul ought to not have received the allocation.

“We believe this is a clear failure to understand the protocols relating to the bilateral agreements or deliberate attempt to mislead the intended recipient of the dossier.”

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