Former Zuma lawyers ordered to pay fines over work permits in Namibia – reports

Two high-profile South African lawyers who once represented former president Jacob Zuma have been released in Namibia after they were ordered to pay fines for immigration-related charges, according to reports.

Informanté, a Namibian publication, reported that Mike Hellens and Dawie Joubert were ordered to pay fines totalling N$10 000 after they pleaded guilty  in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court to contravening the Namibia Immigration Control Act.

The two were in the country to defend its former Cabinet ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala as well as four co-accused in a case involving in an alleged fishing quota kickback scheme, The Namibian reported.

Their passports were confiscated in court on Friday while they were preparing to represent former fisheries minister Esau and former justice minister Shanghala, as well as four businessmen charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering, News24 previously reported.

Informanté said the lawyers were escorted to police holding cells where they spent most of the day.

They then called on Namibian senior advocate Essi Schimming-Chase and were afforded an urgent appearance before Magistrate Venatius Alweendo on Friday afternoon, the publication added.

It stated that both pleaded guilty to the first count of conducting business in Namibia without a proper work permit and a second count of furnishing false information to an immigration officer upon entering Namibia.

According to New Era Live, Esau and Shanghala were forced to resign after the Fishrot Files scandal was exposed in the local and international media.

When contacted by News24 on Friday, Hellens replied: "I can't talk about the case right now."

- Compiled by Kaveel Singh