Fishrot asset curator ruling reserved for February

WINDHOEK: The Windhoek High Court on Wednesday reserved judgment in the matter in which Fishrot suspects are challenging Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa's nomination to appoint South African curators as administrators of their now frozen assets. Presiding Judge Orben Sibeya reserved the ruling for 19 February 2024. Johan Engelbrecht and Coenraad Stander of Icon Insolvency Practitioners (Pty) Ltd are set to replace the current curators, Ian Mclaren and David Bruno, who have applied for the termination of their services if Imalwa is successful. Former justice minister Sakeus Shanghala, former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, former Investec Asset Management Managing Director James Hatuikulipi, Pius Mwatelula and Ricardo Gustavo instead want local curators, Harald Hecht and Pierre Knoetze, to be appointed. In court documents, Imalwa however said that two nominees wrote a proposal to her in September last year, about their unwillingness to wait for years - depending on the criminal trial's finalisation - before they can be paid for their services. Shanghala and his co-accused were arrested in 2019 over alleged corruption in the allocation of fishing quotas in exchange for bribes. Represented by South African Lawyer Vas Soni, the suspects argued that Imalwa's nominees will be based out of the country, causing serious operational and logistical challenges. They also argued that such an appointment has never been made in Namibia and that the fees that will be charged will be increased appreciably. 'The question arises as to why unusually a firm from outside Namibia ought to be appointed,' Soni argued. Imalwa indicated in court documents that she has not been able to secure a nomination for a Namibian curator, but 'managed to find two suitable South African curators.' Source: The Namibia Press Agency