Saturday, October 31, 2020

Namibia fishing scandal: Investment firm Investec MD resigns amid bribery allegations

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The Namibia managing director of South African investment firm Investec has resigned after allegations he spearheaded a fishing scheme that generated kickbacks of at least 150 million Namibian dollars ($10 million) in a bribery scandal that has seen two ministers quit.

James Hatuikulipi also resigned as Managing Director of Investec Asset Management Africa, excluding South Africa, while his number two Ricardo Gustavo has been suspended pending the outcome of an ongoing independent investigation, the company said in a statement late on Thursday.

“Although the alleged activities were conducted in their private capacity Investec Asset Management takes allegations of this nature very seriously,” Investec Business Manager Gwynneth Rukoro said in a statement.

“Our internal investigation into the matter is ongoing and we remain open to cooperation with the authorities,” the statement said.

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Hatuikulipi and Gustavo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Namibia’s Justice Minister Sackeus Shanghala and Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernhard Esau resigned on Wednesday following media reports they had awarded horse mackerel quotas to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm Samherji in exchange for bribes. Samherji said it had hired a law firm to investigate the allegations.

Esau has denied wrongdoing, saying he had only stepped down to prevent a “media campaign” from tarnishing the ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) ahead of general elections later in November.

Shanghala could not be reached for comment.

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Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste recommended on Thursday the immediate removal of Hatuikulipi as chairperson of state-owned fishing company Fishcor.

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