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Minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste

Fishcor told to divorce 'parasitic' partner

Click on the flag for more information about Namibia NAMIBIA
Friday, September 18, 2020, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

The following is an excerpt from The Namibian

MINISTER of public enterprises Leon Jooste has instructed the state-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) to terminate its partnership with a Walvis Bay-based fishing company a month after a High Court judge described the joint venture as “cosy” and “parasitic”.

The Namibian understands that Jooste wrote to the Fishcor board on 4 September and stated that the government explored options to take legal action against individuals who compromised the national fishing company's commercial and financial interests.

The partnership could involve investments and payments of as much as N$700 million – with some of it appearing to have been diverted by the Fishcor masterminds using the construction of a fish-processing plant as a front.

Businessman Adriaan Jacobus Louw, who is the majority shareholder of the company in partnership with Fishcor, is, however, fuming. 

He is insisting that contracts with the government fishing company are binding. 

The company in question is the Walvis Bay-based Seaflower Pelagic Processing, of which Fishcor owns 40%.

Around 60% of the shareholding in Seaflower is held by African Selection Fishing Namibia (Pty) Ltd, of which Louw is the main shareholder.

The other shareholder in African Selection Fishing, with a 33% stake, was Celax Investments Number One, a company that was owned by lawyer Marén de Klerk.

De Klerk, who has been accused of having been the paymaster in a fishing quota corruption scandal involving Fishcor, has passed his shares in Celax Investments Number One on to Louw.

Celax Investments is named by the Anti-Corruption Commission in court papers as one of the companies allegedly involved in channelling N$75 million meant for Fishcor to people and other entities who benefited from quotas allocated to the company.

Jooste declined to comment on the details when approached for comment, but confirmed writing the letter.

The Ministry of Public Enterprises consulted external lawyers after the Cabinet agreed to terminate Fishcor's partnership in Seaflower Pelagic Processing.

The terms of reference for the lawyers included the checking of the legality of the contracts between Fishcor, Africa Selection Fishing Namibia and Seaflower Pelagic Processing. The lawyers were also asked to explain the consequences of terminating those partnership contracts.

The government also wanted to know about the cancellation of a quota usage agreement between Fishcor and Seaflower Pelagic Processing.

Author: Shinovene Immanuel and Werner Menges / The Namibian | Read the rest of the story by clicking the link here


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