Avid did not have financial records – liquidator

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Windhoek

The prosecution on Tuesday summoned the man responsible for liquidating Avid Investments, the brainchild of the late Lazarus Kandara, accused of misappropriating N$30 miilion of the Social Security Commission (SSC) during January of 2005.

Chartered Accountant Erick Knouwds told Judge Christi Liebenberg he was instructed by the Master of the High Court on February 02, 2006 to liquidate Avid after the death of Kandara who died as a result of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot to the chest in front of the Windhoek Police Station.

He testified he was also tasked with the sequestration of the personal estate of Nico Josea, accused no 7. According to Knouwds in the event of liquidating Avid Investments, a little known asset management company at the time of the botched investment, he compiled an inventory of their assets and invited creditors to submit claims against the obscure investment firm.

He further said he contacted the auditors of the firm, Saunderson & Co. to obtain financial records of the company.

He was, however, told that such records did not exist or that the auditing company was not in possession of such records.

What he did receive was secretarial records indicating  former parliamentarian Paulus Ilonga Kapia and his co-accused, Inez /Gâses, Otniel Podewiltz and Sharon Blaauw were listed as directors of the company as well as documents indicating retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda was to receive 8 percent shares in the company.

The shares were, however, never transferred, he testified.

One of the charges the State alleges is that Kapia, /Gâses, Podewiltz and Sharon Blaauw never lodged consent to be directors of the company, but Knouwds disproved this when he testifieds he found consent forms among the documents he received from the company secretary of Avid at Saunderson & Co.

He further informed the court while he did manage to locate a minute book during his investigations, he somehow lost it along the way and cannot say what it contains except that it contained the minutes of the inauguration meeting.

According to Knouwds, while he was seriously searching for any accounting records of Avid to enable him to compile a financial profile of the company he did not find any.        

Kapia, /Gâses, Sharon Blaauw, her husband Ralph Blaauw, Shiweda and Nico Josea are all charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, and a host of charges of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business, which is a contravention of the Companies Act, Act 61 of 1973 that was repealed and replaced with a new Act in 2010.

Podewiltz alone also faces one charge of corruption for accepting cash as inducement for favours from the late Lazarus Kandara while working for the Ministry of Labour, it is alleged while another count of corruption was added to the charge sheet for all accused.

The charges are inconnection with an SSC investment of N$30 million that was placed with an asset management company, Avid Investment Corporation, and channelled to another asset management company, Namangol Investments which belonged to Josea, in January 2005.  The money was supposed to be repaid with interest after four months.  When Avid Investment Corporation was not able to deliver on that undertaking the SSC went to the High Court in July 2005 to have the company liquidated.

A Companies Act enquiry on the financial collapse of Avid followed in July and August 2005.

The State is alleging that of the N$30 million that the SSC transferred to Avid to be invested, N$29,5 million was transferred to Namangol Investments of which some N$14,9 million landed in Josea’s personal bank account in mid-March 2005, and he went on to deal with the money as if it was his own, it is also alleged.

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