Namibian Fugitive Maren de Klerk Faces Court for Corruption and Money Laundering Charges

Namibian Fugitive Maren de Klerk Faces Court for Corruption and Money Laundering Charges

…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.

Maren de Klerk, a 55-year-old Namibian fugitive, made an appearance in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 2 June, following his arrest the day before by the Hawks and Interpol.

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De Klerk, who is wanted for trial in Namibia on charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption, and money laundering, has been on the Interpol Red List, despite not being listed on the organization’s website.

An arrest warrant and extradition notice had been approved by the Paarl Magistrate’s Court in 2022.

Implications in the Fishrot Scandal

De Klerk’s alleged involvement in the “Fishrot” scandal in Namibia has gained significant attention.

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The scandal, which came to light in 2019 through the release of the “Fishrot Files” by WikiLeaks, exposed a large-scale corruption scheme.

These documents revealed that the fishing company Samherji had purportedly paid substantial amounts to high-ranking Namibian politicians in exchange for fishing quotas.

The scandal implicated several politicians and businessmen, with millions of dollars involved, including former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau.

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De Klerk’s Role and Whistleblower Status

According to the Mail and Guardian, Maren de Klerk is believed to be the self-confessed paymaster in the Fishrot scandal.

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He allegedly used his trust account to distribute illicit funds to various accounts.

However, de Klerk later became a whistleblower and admitted, in a 500-page affidavit, to “unwittingly” committing crimes in relation to the Fishrot matter.

Arrest Stemming from Financial Losses and Fear for Safety

De Klerk’s recent arrest followed his voluntary approach to the Hawks, as he claimed to have been swindled out of millions of South African rand by a disbarred lawyer in South Africa.

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Reportedly, de Klerk deposited over R3 million into a trust account managed by the lawyer, unaware of the lawyer’s suspension and subsequent removal from the roll.

It is mentioned that de Klerk arrived in South Africa in 2020 due to fears for his safety.

Bail Application and Postponement of Proceedings

During the court appearance, de Klerk applied for bail.

The matter was adjourned until 5 June to determine the date for the bail application hearing.

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