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Namibian ministers resign over Samherji revelations

13.11.2019 - 14:40
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 Mynd: Stefán Drengsson - RÚV
Bernhard Esau (pictured) and Sacky Shanghala, the fisheries and justice ministers of Namibia, have today resigned their posts following revelations made last night that subsidiaries of Iceland’s Samherji fisheries company paid them, and close associates, large bribes in exchange for a very valuable fishing quota.

Namibian media were first to report the resignations today, following speculation that started as soon as RÚV’s Kveikur investigative programme aired last night. Kveikur investigated the trail of corruption in collaboration with Stundin (the weekly Icelandic newspaper published each Friday that piqued interest several days ago by announcing it would go on sale Wednesday this week, and that it would be much bigger than usual), and also with the Al-Jazeera Investigation Unit. The investigation was based on information leaked to WikiLeaks. 

You can watch the entire Kveikur episode with English subtitles and interviews in English by clicking here.

The Namibian reports that Hage Geingob, the president of Namibia, told his closest advisers this morning that Esau and Shanghala should do the right thing and resign. The Namibian Sun tabloid, meanwhile, reported that he had decided to sack the ministers if they did not resign first. 

According to the leak, the two ministers took hundreds of millions of krónur in bribes from two companies owned by Samherji. The Kveikur/Stundin/Al Jazeera investigation reveals that the bribes were Samherji’s way of making sure the company secured a highly lucrative quota. Namibia has some of the richest fishing waters in the world.  

The ministers were among the group known as ‘the sharks’: high-profile men in the Namibian system who were able to wield their power and influence in favour of Samherji and its subsidiaries.

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Alexander Elliott
Fréttastofa RÚV