Name-dropping by Fishrot 6 ‘loathsome’

… A lie from start to finish, says Presidency

By Confidente Reporters

THE Office of the President has condemned in the strongest terms the use of the name of President Hage Geingob and the Swapo Party by senior ministers, their siblings and friends who are implicated in a corrupt scheme that allegedly solicited bribes from foreign investors running into hundreds of millions of dollars, which recently came to light in the Fishrot exposé.

A spokesman for the Presidency said in response to the latest developments, whereby two ex-ministers and four others were arrested last week on charges of fraud, money-laundering and bribery, that neither Geingob nor the Swapo Party, as such, were aware that the Fishrot 6, as they are now known, were using public office to solicit bribes of at least N$103 million to secure lucrative fishing quotas in Namibian waters for an Icelandic fishing firm.

“Nobody knew what they were doing, but they made sure to contaminate the party with donations without disclosing the source. The story of James getting money for Hage so that he can pay delegates is a lie from start to finish,” a presidential aide said.

Former fisheries minister Bernard Esau, his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi, former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, former Fishcor chairman James Hatuikulipi, suspended Investec Namibia client director Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo, promptly abandoned their bail applications on Friday and must remain in custody until the next hearing on 20 February.

Shanghala and Esau were also subsequently removed from Swapo’s list of candidates for the new Parliament. Reports this week had it that Shanghala had been placed on “suicide watch”. Their continued membership of the Swapo Party has not yet been confirmed.

When approached for comment this week, presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari told Confidente that the President finds name-dropping and the use of his name for “self-serving reasons” highly upsetting and Geingob condemned it in the strongest possible terms.

“Name-dropping is a bad form of using the name of the President for corrupt ends. Name-dropping is a bad industry, and has the potential to erode [good] governance. As a country, we should not tolerate it and should desist from such practices.

“That is why the President made it clear and stuck to the commitment that State House will not in any way be a place for discussion of business deals. It is something we should be proud of,” he said.

Hengari noted that Namibia is ranked the fourth best governed country in Africa and that the President is committed to taking the country to the top of the list.

“We actually moved two places up under President Geingob. As he said in his victory address to the nation, in light of what had transpired in the fishing industry, adequate safeguards will be put in place, and the fight against corruption will be intensified to ensure that our resources reach intended beneficiaries, ordinary Namibians, who in their majority once again renewed their faith in his leadership as President of Namibia.

“President Hage Geingob has taken a strong stance against corruption, and has acted decisively against the scourge. Those who have fallen short are no longer in the executive, including the two ministers who were forced to resign, failure of which their letters of dismissal had been ready to be served.

“The President declared his assets and those of the First Lady upon assumption of office in 2015, with the sole aim of assuring Namibians that he will never betray their trust by using his office for personal gain.”