Namibia’s former Minister of Fisheries Bernhard Esau has been arrested in connection with an investigation of corruption and alleged bribery, including from Icelandic fishing company Samherji. Esau resigned two weeks ago, as did Namibia’s Minister of Justice Sacky Shangala, after being implicated in a bribery scandal where they are alleged to have accepted millions in bribes from Samherji in exchange for horse mackerel fishing quotas.
According to The Namibian, Esau has the right to apply for bail. The country’s police are still looking for three high-profile individuals in connection with the case.
Businessman Ricardo Gustavo was also arrested in connection with the case. Both Gustavo and Esau are under investigation by Namibia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which is also investigating Tamson “Fitty” Hatuikulipi (Esau’s son-in-law), and James Hatuikulipi, Tamson’s cousin and Chairman of the Board of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) in connection with the case, as well as companies in their ownership. All of them are named in the so-called Fishrot Files, which suggest they engaged in bribery and tax evasion in the country’s fishing industry.
RÚV reports that the Anti-Corruption Commission has released a statement saying that all documents and witness accounts that have been reviewed in connection with the case point to bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption having taken place. Paulus Noa, the Commission’s director, has stated he hopes to talk to Samherji’s directors once the investigation is completed, and expressed his hope that Icelandic authorities would assist him in that aim. “We want to speak to the authorities and also the company owners,” he stated.