….Hatuikulipi has 15 frozen bank accounts
… No more money to pay lawyers
By Megameno Shikwambi
Ex-Investec managing director James Hatuikulipi and his cousin Tamson Hatuikulipi have now dragged the Financial Intelligence Centre at the Bank of Namibia, Bank Windhoek, Standard Bank and First National Bank of Namibia to court together with the minister of finance in a desperate bid to have their frozen accounts released.
The duo is in police custody in the midst of the ‘Fishrot’ corruption storm which has made international headlines and has claimed the scalp of two ministers, Bernard Esau and Sacky Shanghala.
They are facing charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud.
In their latest application, the pair has said they are innocent and “intend to respond to these allegations at the appropriate time and forum”. The cousins have also listed 11 of their companies as applicants as well as the prosecutor general Martha Imalwa, Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Financial Intelligence Centre and its director as respondents.
Inside the frozen accounts
The Hatuikulipis have said in their court papers that they came to the realization that their bank accounts had been frozen on the 15th of November 2019 at 3:30pm.
“I was taken aback as this is the bank accounts that receives my salary from my employment with Investec as well as my director’s fees,” says James Hatuikulipi.
He also claims that he became aware that another personal banking account he holds, named JTH Properties CC had also been frozen.
He further claims that he was taken aback as this account receives banking funds from his personal bank account and uses it to pay his direct debits.
The rest of his accounts were also frozen under same circumstances during the same period, he submits.
All in all, Hatuikulipi submits in his papers that 15 of his bank accounts have been all been frozen.
“I was up until recently the managing director of Investec Asset Management (Pty) Ltd Namibia and received a decent salary and benefits from my employment. I attempted on Monday 18 November 2019 to inquire from my personal banker as to why my banking accounts were frozen and she advised me that she knew nothing and was therefore not in a position to help me.
Out of desperation, I therefore made a decision to seek legal help for the purpose of finding out what was going with my personal banking accounts,” he cites in the court papers.
A trust bank account of which he was a trustee has also been frozen, he says.
He has also submitted that his lawyers queried the lawfulness of the blanket freeze of his accounts and that nothing had been communicated to him by the investigating authorities at the stage of the freeze.
Additionally, the application has been brought on an urgent basis as Hatuikulipi submits that the freeze interfered with his right to property and those of his cousin.
He said the urgency is based on the “ongoing violation of the applicant’s rights enshrined in the Namibia constitution” adding that the conduct of the respondents has been “punitive, high-handed”.
He added that this amounts to abuse of rights and powers.
“Moreover, there is no realistic prospect that the rights infringed can be restored save by an order of this honourable court. I submit that the instances of abuse of power that I have addressed in this affidavit on their own render the matter urgent,” James submits.
The applicants have also challenged finance minister Calle Schlettwein’s power to freeze their accounts.
Hatuikulipi has submitted that he has financial obligations to honor, failure of which he would be blacklisted by ITC.
“This would affect the credit worthiness and ability of the applicants to obtain loans which would allow them to pursue as well as remain in business,” he said. He also submitted that the funds they had secured were sufficient to pay legal fees for their lawyers to challenge their arrest warrants only.
The Hatuikulipi millions
Before his arrest, Al-Jazeera revealed that they are prepared to show Hatuikilipi evidence to the effect that between June and July 2014, N$2 million was paid by Mermaria to ERF One Nine Eight Zero Kuisebmond, of which he is a trustee.
Between September 2014 and January 2019, N$4.1 million was paid by Samherji Cypriot subsidiaries Esja Seafood Limited, Mermaria Seafood Limited and Noa Pelagic Limited, to Tundavala Invest Limited, a company where Hatuikilipi serves in three different capacities such as Chairman, shareholder and secretary simultaneously.
Al Jazeera reveals in its documentary that between August 2017 and October 2018, Greyguard Investments, a company in which Hatuikilipi is the sole shareholder, received N$9.2 million from Namgomar Pesca via Otuafika Logistics.
Between November 2016 and March 2017, Cambadara Trust, of which Hatuikilipi is a trustee received payments totaling N$2.445 million from Mermaria via Namgomar and Otuafika Logistics.
Between January 2015 and October 2018, Hatuikilipi received N$1.8 million in his personal bank account indirectly from Namgomar via Otuafika. All these companies are cited as applications in the court documents with Hatuikulipi making a case for ‘unlawful arrests” claiming to have effectively abducted.
The matter is expected to be heard on 6 February in the High Court.