Former Namibian minister denied bail in fishing scandal case

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Members of the crew of a fishing vessel offload fish at the port of Walvis Bay, Namibia, June 7, 2016. The vessel belongs to a fish processing company of the town and has 180 tons carrying capacity. A main product of the factory is Hake, making 22 000 tons of final product annually. Almost all of the fish is producing for export to Euro Union countries, Australia and the USA. (Photo by Oleksandr Rupeta/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Members of the crew of a fishing vessel offload fish at the port of Walvis Bay, Namibia. (Photo by Oleksandr Rupeta/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A high court in Namibia on Sunday denied Namibia’s former Minister of Fisheries Bernhardt Esau bail following his arrest by authorities over allegations on corruption.

The court also pushed forward the hearing on the validity of the warrant that allowed his arrest and subsequent detention. The case is set to be heard on Tuesday in order to give the state time to prepare its arguments.

Esau was arrested on Saturday together with a former senior manager of investment firm Investec named Ricardo Gustavo. They are accused of involvement in a scheme whereby bribes were taken to award horse mackerel quotas to Samherji.

Esau resigned from his position just over a week ago alongside Justice Minister Sackeus Shanghala, who was also implicated in the conspiracy according to documents published by Wikileaks.

Media in Namibia and Iceland reported that Shanghala, Esau and a former Namibia managing director of Investec, James Hatuikulipi, led a conspiracy which brought about bribes totaling at least 150 million Namibian dollars ($10 million) over four years.

According to Namibia’s anti-corruption commission, there are warrants of arrest against Shanghala and Hatuikulipi.

Namibia, whose fishing and fish processing industry is second only to mining, is in the middle of one of its worst economic crises in decades.

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