Former Namibian Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau and his son-in-law Tamson Hatuikulipi have been fighting for bail for the past four days, a few months after they were placed under custody for their alleged involvement in the Samherji cash-for-quotas scandal.
In November, controversial whistleblowing website Wikileaks published tens of thousands of emails onto a searchable paged dubbed "Fishrot," after Samherji's top executive in charge of Namibian operations, Johannes Stefansson, made allegations against the company and founder and CEO Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson.
According to Willem Oliver, a researcher for the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia (ACC), current investigations reveal that Samherji's subsidiary Esja Fishing paid out close to NAD 30 million (€1.5 million/$1.7 million) to Erongo Clearing and Forwarding, managed by Hatuikulipi.
Hatuikulipi offered real estate allegedly worth NAD 16 million as a reserve for his deposit request as a means to assure that he hadn't benefited from the cash-for-quotas scandal between 2014 and 2016, The Namibian reported.
Samherji allegedly conspired with the people involved in the Fishrot case under a bilateral fishing cooperation agreement between Angola and Namibia, giving the group access to quotas, Oliver pointed out in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court.
The former minister Esau says he is not guilty of any of the charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.
Meanwhile, Hatuikulipi accused Stefansson of being a drug addict allegedly using the Fishrot scandal as a way to seek revenge against Samherji after a fall out in 2016 for failing to pay him a bonus.
Hatuikulipi also said he does not own any fishing rights and every cent he has received from Samherji was for the consultancy work he has rendered to them, New Era Live reported.