America and European whistleblower organisations yesterday launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds towards the medical treatment of Fishrot whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson.
Pictures of Stefánsson with a bloated face recently appeared in an international news article, where he alleged that he has been poisoned and his appearance is a result of the poison symptoms.
In a media statement, Whistleblowing International, ANA LOGO, and the United States-based Whistleblower Network News, National Whistleblower Centre says the former Samherji managing director in Namibia from 2011, is seeking medical treatment ahead of his testimony in the Fishrot trial in April.
“The whistleblower groups formed an international coalition to assist Stefánsson in his plight for justice and, more importantly, help him get immediately treated for poisoning,” said the statement.
The whistleblower advocates allege that Stefánsson has been unable to receive adequate treatment in Iceland and is financially unable to seek treatment internationally. This is despite Iceland’s equally accessible good healthcare services for all its citizens with specialised hospital services provided at a few hospitals and healthcare facilities.
“Doctors in his home country of Iceland suspect he was poisoned. Unfortunately, Iceland lacks the state-of-the-art facilities necessary to identify the toxin and treat Johannes’s illness. He needs international help,” said whistleblower advocate Mark Worth, in the online fundraising campaign.
After leaving the employment of Samherji in 2016, Stefánsson relocated to South Africa where he lived under 24-hour protection because of threats against him. He also believes that he was poisoned in a South African hotel, which he feels his former employer has full knowledge of.
The sickly man is back in his home country, where he lives in pain, fatigue and weakness. He told The Namibian that he seldom speaks about his health challenges due to the poison effects and symptoms that are worse than meets the eye.
“I have not liked to say much about it but need to do something about it. It is now four years and I have very limited capability. I have been working on a plan to get better for the past four years and have done all I can do,” said Stefánsson.
The Fishrot whistleblower feels more progress can be made on his work to expose the Fishrot scandal but he has managed to do what he can.
“Many things are still outstanding from my side as I have limited health due to many symptoms. But I am always positive and optimistic and will manage one way or the other,” he added.
Stefánsson has worked with several media houses and the Anti-Corruption Commission to expose a fishing rights bribery scheme, which saw the incarceration of the justice and fisheries ministers, as well as business people.
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“Something needs to be done as it is not working, and there has been no visible recovery and my body is just getting weaker after four years of battling. The NGOs and people who have started the campaign to get me into the right medical hands have taken this very seriously and with a big concern, which I appreciate a lot,” Stefánsson said.
He said his symptoms include his body not “functioning correctly”.
“There are many symptoms like shaking, vision trouble, uncomfortable/unpleasant/painful symptoms all over the body, pains here and there, dizziness, chest pains, headaches, and others over the last four years,” Stefánsson said, adding that it has not been easy for his family and friends to witness his deterioration.
“I need to find a solution to my health challenges … and of course just to get my life back and be able to work and live. And to be able to fight corruption harder and better.”