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Namibia is Preparing for the Biggest Corruption Trial in its Short History

The financial scandal – named after a 2019 Wikileaks release called the “Fishrot Files” – stretches from Namibia to Iceland, taking in government ministers and involving at least $20m. It is all about fish quotas – not an immediately obvious source of corruption, but in Namibia they are very lucrative. With nearly 1,600km of South Atlantic coastline, fishing is one of the country’s main industries, accounting for about 20% of export earnings. In the Fishrot scandal, a number of prominent politicians and businessmen are accused of running schemes to get control of valuable fishing quotas, for example those held by the state fishing company Fishcor. It is alleged that they then diverted them to the Icelandic fishing company Samherji in return for kickbacks. The scandal has also damaged the wider Namibian fishing industry. Jobs have gone and government revenue has been lost – that money should have been used to assist the poorest in one of the most unequal societies in the world.