Fishrot trial recusal ruling on 12 March

The judge appointed to preside over the Fishrot fishing quotas fraud, corruption and racketeering trial will give his ruling on an application for him to step down from the case on 12 March.

Acting judge Moses Chinhengo postponed the delivery of his ruling after hearing oral arguments in the High Court at Windhoek Correctional Facility on Friday.

One of the 10 men facing charges before Chinhengo, Nigel van Wyk, filed an application for Chinhengo’s recusal after the judge continued with plea proceedings in the matter in the absence of Van Wyk’s defence lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, last December.

The state is opposing Van Wyk’s application in which he is claiming he has “a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the judge” and is alleging that Chinhengo “is concerned only with completing the trial as soos as possible, irrespective of the rights of the accused”.

Van Wyk’s request for Chinhengo to recuse himself from the trial is not supported by any of the other accused in the matter, deputy prosecutor general Ed Marondedze, representing the state, noted during court proceedings on Friday.

Also during the proceedings, one of the accused, former attorney general and justice minister Sacky Shanghala, questioned Chinhengo’s status as an acting judge, remarking that he had been appointed until the end of December last year and that he was not aware of any announcement of Chinhengo’s reappointment that has been made this year.

Marondedze said the answer to Shanghala’s query can be found in the High Court Act, which states that the appointment of acting judges continues until the judges have disposed of the cases they were dealing with.

Shanghala indicated he would consider taking other legal steps in connection with Chinhengo’s appointment.

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