WikiLeaks Exposes Corruption: SAMHERJI's Fishing Scandal in Namibia

Posted on 07/13/2023

Broader Topic: Samherji
Sentiment: Negative
Post # 7506 posted in:
Rant & Rave - Business - Other
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland, Europe

WikiLeaks, the renowned whistleblowing organization, has once again made headlines by publishing over 30,000 documents revealing a corruption scandal involving SAMHERJI, a multinational fishing company based in Iceland. Obtained from a whistleblower within the company, the documents shed light on SAMHERJI's illicit activities in Namibia, where the company resorted to corrupt schemes to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds off the African nation's shores. The revelations have sent shockwaves through the international community, exposing the company's manipulation of senior Namibian officials and politicians through pay-offs and the subsequent transfer of funds out of the country.

Dated from 2010 to 2016, the leaked documents provide a comprehensive account of SAMHERJI's rise to prominence in Namibia, which has resulted in the company becoming the largest recipient of fishing quotas in the country. The evidence within these documents, including emails, internal reports, spreadsheets, presentations, and photos, meticulously outlines how SAMHERJI spent millions of dollars on bribes to secure continued access to Namibia's valuable fishing resources.

SAMHERJI's modus operandi in Namibia went beyond mere corruption. The documents reveal that the company made lofty promises of infrastructure development and job creation, which were never fulfilled. Instead, SAMHERJI exploited its international corporate structure to siphon proceeds from its operations out of the country. Utilizing intermediaries it controls in Cyprus and the tax haven of Mauritius, the company facilitated the transfer of funds, undermining Namibia's economy and depriving its citizens of the benefits they were promised.

Currently operating in various countries, including Iceland, Germany, Poland, the U.K., the Faroe Islands, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, and Namibia, SAMHERJI has experienced rapid growth over the past two decades, boasting an impressive turnover exceeding $700 million. However, this success story has been marred by the recent revelations of corruption and exploitation.

The courageous act of the whistleblower, Mr. Jóhannes Stefánsson, the former Managing Director of SAMHERJI's operations in Namibia, has played a pivotal role in exposing the company's misdeeds. By providing the incriminating documents to WikiLeaks, Mr. Stefánsson has taken a stand against corruption, cooperating with anti-corruption authorities and police in Namibia, who have been investigating the case for nearly a year. Recognizing the international ramifications of this scandal, Namibian authorities have sought assistance from their counterparts in Dubai, Mauritius, Cyprus, Norway, and Iceland.

The involvement of Norwegian authorities stems from SAMHERJI's use of Norwegian bank accounts to facilitate the transfer of funds by its Cyprus-based companies. By collaborating with investigators from multiple jurisdictions, the aim is to ensure that justice is served and those responsible for this widespread corruption are held accountable.

The publication of these damning documents by WikiLeaks serves as a reminder of the crucial role played by whistleblowers in unveiling corporate corruption. SAMHERJI's reputation has been severely tarnished, and the consequences of its actions in Namibia may extend far beyond its borders. Governments, international organizations, and civil society must now unite to demand transparency and accountability in the fishing industry and other sectors where corruption threatens economic growth and social well-being.

The exposed corruption in Namibia also highlights the urgent need for robust anti-corruption measures, both domestically and internationally. Governments worldwide must strengthen their regulatory frameworks, encourage reporting mechanisms, and ensure the independence and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies to combat corrupt practices.

SAMHERJI fishing scandal uncovered by WikiLeaks sheds light on a web of corruption that has allowed the company to gain unfair advantages and exploit Namibia's rich fishing grounds. The brave actions of the whistleblower and the subsequent investigations by Namibian and international authorities serve as a wake-up call to the need for greater vigilance against corruption in the corporate world and the urgent pursuit of justice for affected nations and their citizens.

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