Were Polytech and NHE Also Duped?

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK New Era has established that both the Polytechnic of Namibia and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) allegedly made investments with Great Triangle Investment (GTI). Officials investigating the missing N$100 million of the Offshore Development Company (ODC), which was invested with GTI, revealed to New Era that through their investigations they had learned that the two institutions also made investments with the dubious company. The officials claim that they had discovered that unregistered financial broker Pieter Boonzaaier, who introduced the ODC to GTI, had previous investment transactions with the NHE. The official noted that while they were tracing N$12 million from ODC, which was transferred to Boonzaaier’s account, they noticed that Boonzaaier had paid a cheque of N$1,1 million to NHE as part of investment returns. The official believes that the N$1,1 million was part of the N$12 million that ODC paid to Boonzaaier. The General Manager of Finance and Administration at NHE Edwin Beukes confirmed that his institution on June 5, 2002 invested an amount of N$1 279 985.64 with Boonzaaier Financial Services which was paid through the ABSA Bank Mortgage Fund. He noted that NHE dealt with Boonzaaier Financial Services but that the NHE was not aware that Boonzaaier was dealing with GTI. Beukes acknowledged that the N$1,1 million paid to his company could have come from funds secured from ODC because on November 18, 2002, Boonzaaier failed to pay back the investment on the maturity date and only did so after a month. He added that the incident led to NHE terminating all official relations with Boonzaaier. Beukes further noted that Jan Swartz, a former financial manager of NHE and also a brother-in-law of Boonzaaier, left NHE’s employment prior to the investment relationship with Boonzaaier Financial Services being cancelled. However, the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia Dr Tjama Tjivikua denied that his institution had any investment dealings with GTI. “The Polytechnic only invested its money with the ABSA Bank in South Africa,” he said, adding that all the investments were returned a few years back and were used for the building of the Polytechnic library. “We did not lose a penny through bad investments.” Meanwhile, New Era has also learned that the ODC is investigating all its managers to establish what role, if any, they played in the dubious N$100 million deal. The ODC has already suspended its Chief Executive Officer Abdool Aboobakar and Financial Controller Mabos Ortmann because of their role in the dealings. A source said despite the board getting recommendations from their lawyers to suspend certain managers, they could not do so before investigations were complete. “If you suspend all the managers, whom do you ask when you are looking for the money?”