The Namibia prosecutors began extradition proceedings for three citizens from Iceland for their corrupt use of fishing quotas.
The three men wanted for extradition are Aðalsteinn Helgason, Ingvar Júlíusson, and Egill Helgi Árnason. Prosecutor General Ed Marondedze said he wants all three suspects tried in Namibia’s courts. The three men were former employees of Samherji, an Icelandic fishing company. Samherij bribed Namibia officials and fishing company executives to obtain favorable treatment and access to Namibia fishing grounds. Charges also stem from their work in various fishing companies, including Esja Holding, Memaria Seafood Namibia, and Saga Seafood, Esja Investments, and Heinaste Investments.
Their extradition is part of the multi-billion dollar Fishrot scandal involving charges of alleged money laundering, corruption, conspiracy to commit corruption, tax fraud and tax evasion, infringement of the Namibian law Prevention of Organized Crime Act, and the evasion of justice.
Part of the Fishrot scandal is the Namgomar matter which charges Namibia officials in “charges of corruptly receiving payments of at least N$103.6 million to allow Icelandic fishing company Samherji secure access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.” Maribdedze stated in court that he wants to combine both Icelandic men and Namgomar matter into a single case as the charges overlap.
A Namibian lawyer, Maren de Klerk, representative of Celax investments, will likely be extradited for allegedly transferring money from Fishcor to the suspects’ bank accounts.
The following legal entities will also be charged for their alleged involvement in the scandal: JTH Trading cc, Erongo Clearing, and Forwarding cc, MH Property Projects, Otuafika Investments cc, Otjiwarongo Plot Fifty-one cc, and several other related entities.
The prosecutor general also said that he gave the notice to combine the two cases before the court into one pretrial hearing before the High court on May 20, 2021.
The Fishrot scandal exposed the flaws in the fishing industry and fishing rights in developing countries. The Fishrot scandal is a wake-up call for Namibia to reform its fishing rights system. After the scandal, the State implemented a bidding system, but the fishing companies were uncooperative with the standards. Nevertheless, this case acts as a gateway to understanding and tackling the flaws within the fishing sector.