By Shinovene Immanuel | 26 October 2022
FISHROT-accused lawyer Marén de Klerk says intelligence sources have tipped him off that people have been hired to kill him.
Court documents filed in September this year show that De Klerk’s lawyers have discussed the possibilities of him never returning to Namibia for safety reasons.
De Klerk fled to South Africa in 2020 after being implicated as the paymaster in the Fishrot corruption scandal.
He submitted an affidavit to the High Court on 8 September 2022 explaining why his life is in danger and why he has now fled to an undisclosed location.
“I was also informed during this time by persons, whose names I cannot disclose, because their careers as intelligence officers would be severely compromised, that a ‘hit’ had been ordered on my life,” he said.
His 8 September affidavit was made to explain why he would prefer to provide virtual evidence to support a case by the state-owned National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) against businessman Adriaan Louw.
Louw is demanding N$12 billion from a corruption-tainted joint venture with Fishcor.
De Klerk, a wanted man in the main Fishrot trial, branded Louw as a key enabler of a joint venture that wanted to get free fish valued at over N$20 billion for close to 30 years. Louw has denied any wrongdoing.
De Klerk said in his affidavit that officials at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the prosecutor general failed to keep their word to make him an informer instead of an accused.
He said this in his 477-page affidavit which he submitted to the ACC and the prosecutor general’s office in April 2020.
In that affidavit, De Klerk revealed how he became part of a corruption scheme, initially baptised ‘Ndilimani Project’, to allegedly fund president Hage Geingob’s presidential campaign.
De Klerk revealed that former Investec Asset Management Namibia managing director James Hatuikulipi and former minister of justice Sacky Shanghala assured him that Swapo gave them permission to create an entity to be used as a conduit to fund Geingob’s political ambitions.
According to De Klerk, the affidavit he submitted to the prosecutor general and the ACC was confidential. He accused public officials of leaking affidavits.
Court documents show that De Klerk’s lawyers discussed among themselves that De Klerk’s “stakes as a state witness have gone through the roof; Marén’s life is now in danger more than ever and he can never return to Namibia”.
The discussion added that: “The Anti-Corruption Commission and prosecutor’s negligence in leaking the affidavit has exposed the client to the risk of harm and his inability to return is their fault. The Anti-Corruption Commission has breached their deal with us.”
De Klerk also revealed that he met with the then ombudsman, John Walters, in South Africa in February 2021.
The fugitive recalled in the court papers that he feared for his life while in a safe house in South Africa.
“What was further disturbing to me was that during this period when I relocated to a safe house in February 2021, I noticed a black Polo vehicle parked near my residence on several occasions with a white adult male in the driver’s seat,” he said.
De Klerk added that “I gained the impression that my movements were being watched. A few months prior to that, a Toyota Land Cruiser with a Namibian registration was also regularly spotted by me driving around around my then holiday residence”.
He said he contacted the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa.
“After conveying my story to them, they arranged on very short notice for me to be taken out of South Africa for my own safety. I left South Africa on or about 15 February 2021,” De Klerk said.
“More than two years later and on or about 25 March 2022, I became aware for the first time that a warrant of arrest had been issued in respect of myself, by way of a court order issued by the Honourable Justice Sibeya.”
De Klerk said he knows he has directly or indirectly implicated a number of key accused and other persons in the ‘Fishrot’ criminal matter such,as Louw and Johannes Breed.
“I continue to fear for my personal safety, for the reasons already mentioned. Accordingly, I still cannot and will not disclose my current address and whereabouts.”
Sibeya blocked a plan by Fishcor to allow De Klerk to be one of the witnesses in their battle against Louw.
Fishcor has brought an application to lead the evidence of a witness in another country [De Klerk] at the trial by way of video link.