Two Namibian ministers stop in bribery scandal involving Icelandic fishing agency

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WINDHOEK (Information) – Namibia’s justice and fisheries ministers resigned on Wednesday over bribery claims involving Icelandic fishing agency Samherji, the presidency mentioned.

Justice Minister Sackeus Shanghala and Fisheries and Marine Assets Minister Bernhard Esau stop following media studies that they had awarded horse mackerel quotas to Iceland’s largest fishing agency in change for bribes.

Namibian President Hage Geingob mentioned he had accepted the resignations after assembly the 2 ministers to debate the allegations, including they had been “harmless till confirmed responsible”.

Esau denied wrongdoing, saying he had solely stepped down to stop a “media marketing campaign” from tarnishing the ruling South West Africa Folks’s Organisation (SWAPO) forward of basic elections later in November.

Citing paperwork gathered by Wikileaks, The Namibian newspaper, Iceland’s nationwide broadcaster RUV and different media reported on Tuesday that the 2 ministers and the Namibia managing director of South African funding agency Investec had spearheaded a fishing scheme producing kickbacks of no less than 150 million Namibian ($10 million) over 4 years.

Shanghala didn’t reply his telephone when contacted by Information for remark. Investec’s Namibian managing director, James Hatuikulipi, couldn’t be reached for remark.

Investec mentioned on Twitter it had “famous” the media studies. It mentioned it was wanting into the matter and would cooperate with the authorities.

Icelandic newspaper Studin reported that Samherji transferred greater than $70 million by means of a shell firm within the tax haven Marshall Islands from 2011 to 2018, with a part of the cash going to Namibian officers.

Additionally citing paperwork provided by Wikileaks, The Namibian newspaper reported that the scheme started in 2014 and included family of the ministers and officers from Angola.

The scandal might add to stress on Geingob and his ruling SWAPO celebration, with the sparsely populated southern African nation going through its worst financial disaster in many years.

“Nearly all of voters are predominantly rural-based, which constitutes SWAPO’s conventional base. These voters are the least knowledgeable about problems with corruption,” former cupboard minister Kazenambo Kazenambo informed Information.

Individually, Norwegian financial institution DNB mentioned on Wednesday it was investigating allegations that Samherji had transferred the bribes by way of the financial institution to the Namibian officers.

Samherji mentioned it had employed a regulation agency to analyze the allegations.

“We’ve got engaged the worldwide regulation agency Wikborg Rein in Norway to analyze the actions in Namibia. On this investigation, nothing will likely be excluded and we’ll disclose its findings as quickly as they turn into out there,” the agency mentioned.

Samherji mentioned it at all times acted in accordance with the legal guidelines of the nations wherein it operated and that it will cooperate with Namibian authorities on the case. The agency was not out there for additional remark.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa in Windhoek, Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo, and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Writing Mfuneko Toyana in Johannesbburg; Enhancing by Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood