WINDHOEK – Acting Judge of the High Court, Maphios Cheda, on Friday granted the former Commissioner of the Public Service Commission, Teckla Lameck, and her co-accused Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese citizen Yang Fan, leave to appeal his refusal to recuse himself from their trial for alleged bias.
Lameck lodged the application in her personal capacity and on behalf of her co-accused in February this year.
They submitted the application after they failed to have Judge Cheda remove himself from the trial after he refused to declare certain bank records inadmissible.
According to Judge Cheda, he is bound to bear in mind that that no one in any field has a monopoly of knowledge and for that reason “one’s knowledge and interpretation of the applicable law is subject to different views by others charged with the same interpretative duties”.
He said that he carefully took into account all the submissions by counsel throughout the proceedings and could not, but fail to say, “What if I am wrong in my interpretation of the law regarding the issue of summons and warrants.”
He went on to say that to him, it is a question of law that is best answered by the Supreme Court.
“It is not for me to obdurately shut the judicial door against the innocently presumed applicants,” Judge Cheda remarked and concluded by saying that justice will not be served that way.
Lameck and her co-accused accused the judge of bias after he dismissed an application by them to have summonses issued by the ACC declared inadmissible and inadvertently referred to warrants instead of summonses in his judgment.
They argued that the fact that the judge referred to summonses as warrants will prejudice them as he has already delivered judgment on an issue that is not yet before court.
Senior Counsel Raymond Heathcote, who appeared on behalf of Lameck, argued that the judge in essence pre-associated himself with the State when he found that “warrants” issued by a magistrate are admissible while the defence objected to summonses issued by the ACC Director.
Lameck, Mokaxwa and Fan are accused of committing fraud counting into millions of Namibian dollars.
The State is alleging that that the trio defrauded government and Swapo company, Namib Contract Haulage, big time.
While Lameck and Mokaxwa alone is accused of defrauding the Swapo-owned company where they worked with at least US$144 000 for the purchase of four tipper trucks, they together with Fan are accused of a range of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act.
It is alleged that Lameck, Fan and Mokaxwa duped government through the Ministry of Finance to pay an inflated price of US$55 348 800 for scanners to be used at airports and border posts.
In fact, the State alleges the price was inflated by US$12 828 800 meant as ‘commission’ for Teko Trading, who facilitated the transaction.
The other charges – Lameck faces 18, Mokaxwa 12 and Fan 6 – relate to transgressions of the Immigration Control Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and further contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act.