21 Jan 2021
By Will Neal, OCCRP, 19 January 2021
OCCRP – Namibian President Hage Geingob allegedly played a role in a bribery scandal that has shaken the southern African nation, according to a leaked legal document.
Geingob’s name appears in an affidavit provided in April 2020 to the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) by Marén de Klerk, a lawyer who in the document outlined his knowledge of the so-called “Fishrot scandal.”
Icelandic fisheries company Samherji is accused of paying bribes to top public officials in exchange for privileged access to the country’s resource-rich waters, according to a trove of more than 30,000 internal documents leaked by a former employee. Among those accused of accepting bribes are former justice minister Sackeus Shangala, and businessman James Hatuikulipi.
De Klerk alleged in the affidavit that Shangala and Hatuikulipi approached him for help setting up corporate structures to process donations from supporters of the ruling Swapo party, and that they told him the president had mandated the project.
Geingob had apparently become concerned about how poorly donations were being organized given the “dramatic” anticipated increase in funding during the run-up to elections, according to de Klerk’s 477-page statement, which was seen by OCCRP and its member center, The Namibian newspaper.
De Klerk told the ACC that the network of companies he helped set up was then used as a conduit for illicit payments allegedly made by Samherji to government officials, and was later used to direct funds for Geingob’s 2019 presidential campaign.
In the affidavit, the lawyer explains that he did not ask for details of “how much money I stood to make” from the scheme, but was told by the conspirators that his share would be in an amount resembling “telephone numbers.”
Read more at OCCRP
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