Fraudster Could Never in a Lifetime Repay the Millions


By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Emmanuel Mununga, who pleaded guilty last week to 186 counts of fraud in which the Ministry of Defence and Sanlam Namibia lost more than N$5,4 million, will be sentenced next week Thursday. Acting Judge Christie Liebenberg. after listening to mitigation from Mununga’s lawyer, Unanisa Hengari, and Public Prosecutor, Obed Sibiya, in Court B, told the court that he will deliver judgment and sentence the accused next week Thursday. Hengari informed the court in mitigation that his client is suffering from a terminal illness and thus is pleading for leniency and mercy. He said Mununga has also offered to pay a lump sum of N$500ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 to Sanlam and to pay N$1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 500 per month which will be deducted from the salary of his wife. The defence lawyer said his client is prepared to sell his only property, a house in Rundu, for N$120ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 in order to partly compensate the insurance company. Hengari further noted that his client is married and is the father of four school-going children. “Mununga stays with this children in Windhoek, and if he is sentenced to prison, the children will most likely drop out of school in Windhoek as his wife is living in Rundu.” Hengari argued that his client pleaded guilty, which not only reflected his remorse, but also saved the State both time and resources. Mununga himself also informed the court that he regrets the unlawful action which has caused Sanlam such a massive loss. He added that the last six years since he was arrested for the first time have been his most painful. “These years have not only been painful for my family and me, but my most wasteful years.” Responding to a question from Liebenberg on why his children cannot go back to Rundu and stay with the mother, he replied that since an early age they had been attending schools in Windhoek and the medium of instruction had always been English whereas most schools in Rundu teach in Rukwangali. However, the State Prosecutor said that Mununga’s guilty plea was not because of remorse but because he had no way out. “The State had overwhelming evidence to convict the accused and, if he really wanted to save the State resources, why did he not plead guilty when he was arrested in November 2000?” Sibiya added that the court should not lose sight of the fact that Mununga was convicted of 186 counts of fraud. “The counts are just too many and the amount of N$5,4 million is no small amount.” He added that the crime of fraud is rife in the country and the courts must set an example for anyone who might intend to commit the crime. “If the sentence is light, it will be a passport to every accused to continue committing the crime.” He noted that the accused had four years and ten months to realize that he was committing a serious crime and thus deserves a severe sentence. He said the losses Sanlam incurred have never been recovered and the case has enjoyed a huge media interest, and the courts must theefore send out a strong message. “Concerning his terminal illness, I have been assured by the head of prisons that there are other prisoners with terminal illnesses. and the prison makes provision for such patients.” The prosecutor said the patients in prison are usually given the necessary medication and also visit doctors regularly. He added that the accused, also through fraudulent activities, had claimed that some people were dead while they were still alive, which is immoral in Namibian society. Before adjourning the court, Liebenberg informed Hengari that the amount of money Mununga volunteered to pay is not substantial and will probably never compensate Sanlam for the full amount. Hengari agreed with the judge and said, given the current financial position of his client as well as his medical condition, there is no way he can fully pay back Sanlam the entire N$5, 4 million it has lost. The sentencing next week will bring down the curtain on the case which initially had 23 suspects arrested. Mununga made false claims to a insurance company in the names of NDF members who had died whilst in the employ of the ministry or who had just left the service. However, in actual fact many of the NDF members whose life insurance payouts were requested from Sanlam Namibia, had not died. The money paid out was allegedly channelled into the bank accounts of the former suspects, who were not the rightful beneficiaries of the payouts. Most of the people who were implicated in the alleged death benefits scam are said to be relatives and friends of key accused Mununga.