Brynjar Níelsson, assistant to the Minister of Justice, has refused to disclose the purpose of a meeting he had with Namibian officials at Iceland’s Ministry of Justice last June 7. He has stated that the meeting was not an official meeting and is therefore not subject to the Information Act. Namibian authorities would not confirm to Fréttablaðið that the meeting concerned private affairs.
Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General, and Deputy Director General of the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission visited Iceland last June. The purpose of their trip was to meet with investigators of the so-called Fishrot Files scandal, involving the operations of one of Iceland’s largest seafood companies in Namibia. The company, Samherji, allegedly bribed Namibian government officials to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds, while also taking advantage of international loopholes to avoid taxes.
Met with other ministers that day
While in the country last June, Namibian officials met with Brynjar at the Ministry of Justice. Brynjar sat in as Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson’s representative, as the Minister was absent at the time. The Namibian officials had met with Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir earlier that same day.
Opposition MP Helga Vala Helgadóttir, of the Social-Democratic Alliance, has criticised Brynjar for staying silent on the substance of the meeting. “The Assistant to the Minister of Justice does not meet with the Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, the Attorney General of Namibia, and the Deputy Director General of the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission on behalf of the Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson to discuss private matters. No more than the Prime Minister who met with them first or the Foreign Minister,” Helga stated.