The ongoing Fishrot trial has been suspended again after defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji filed a recusal motion against Judge Moses Chinhengo.

Siyomunji's client, Nigel Van Wyk, accuses Chinhengo of bias in his application, saying that he fears an unfair trial with Chinhengo on the bench.

The recusal of Judge Chinhengo was first brought to the fore when some accused persons wanted an extended postponement of the matter, citing a lack of funds to secure legal representation of their choice.

Judge Chinhengo had refused that bid for postponement, ruling that the accused had had enough time to sort out their finances and secure legal representation. He also argued that there is no indication when they will secure finances to foot their legal bills.

Last week, Judge Moses Chinhengo proceeded with the trial and recorded pleas for those with legal representation and entered 'not guilty' pleas for those without lawyers. This has not been welcomed by the accused and their lawyers.

Judge Chinhengo will hear the arguments for his recusal application on March 1, 2024.

Chinhengo also remarked that the accused persons, without legal representation, should use this recess to finalise their financial matters.

Meanwhile, the former Justice Minister complained to the High Court that he and his co-accused are 'squeezed in like sardines' in the back of a police vehicle when transported between the Windhoek Correctional Facility and the court. He said this is tantamount to violating their human rights.

Sackey Shanghala also reported that correctional officials continue to disregard standing Supreme Court judgements by putting them in vehicles that put their safety at risk.

Shanghala also informed Judge Moses Chinhengo that his former colleague, Bernhardt Esau, is an elderly man who finds it challenging to get on the high vehicle.

Judge Chinhengo informed the former attorney general to file a formal application to allow the court to seek answers from the corrections authorities.

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Emil Xamro Seibeb