General

Esau allowed to access frozen assets

WINDHOEK: The former minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhardt Esau has succeeded in his bid to have access to his frozen assets, in order to afford his legal fees.

A High Court ruling delivered on Wednesday by Judge Beatrix de Jager sets out that Esau shall be allowed access to N.dollars 1 235 738.44 or less to meet his current legal expenses. Judge De Jager also ordered that an amount of N.dollars 2 196 000 must be released from Esau’s restrained property to meet his future legal expenses.

The said amounts, the Judge ordered should so reflect, after tax. Esau was arrested in November 2019 alongside the former minister of justice, Sakeus Shanghala, former Fishcor Chief Executive Officer Mike Nghipunya, former Investec Asset Management Managing Director James Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, Nigel van Wyk, Pius Mwatelula, Otneel Shuudifonya, Phillipus Mwapopi and Tamson Hatuikulipi. The State is alleging that the men received bribes from Icelandic fishing company Samherji, in exchange for fishing q
uotas.

The liquidators, David Bruno and Ian McLaren have been ordered to pay the said amounts into the accounts of Esau’s legal practitioners, Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys. They have also been ordered to release Esau’s restrained property, to give effect to the latest developments.

‘All invoices for the first applicant’s legal expenses for which provision for payment is made under this court order from the applicants’ restrained property must be referred to the taxing master of the court for taxation under the prescribed rates in regulation 8 of the Regulations made under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 29 of 2004. The second and third respondents or their successor in title must only pay the first applicant’s taxed legal expenses,’ De Jager ordered.

Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa opposed the application.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency