Rosenberg seeks immunity before testifying in Avid trial

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Windhoek

South African investor Alan Rosenberg wants immunity from prosecution in order to testify in the ongoing Avid trial in connection with the Social Security Commission (SSC)’s missing millions.
Rosenberg was the man entrusted with the N$30 million the SSC gave to late Lazarus Kandara, the owner of Avid Investments, to invest during January of 2005.

The money was supposed to be repaid after four months with interest of 14.5 percent.
According to information available, after Rosenberg received N$29.5 million from Nico Josea, one of the accused in the ongoing trial and the owner of the liquidated Namangol Investment firm, he invested it.

State Advocate Ed Marondedze yesterday informed Judge Christi Liebenberg that Rosenberg, who was expected in Namibia today to testify, sent him an email in which he demanded a certificate of immunity from prosecution.

According to Marondedze, the Prosecutor General granted his request and is in the process of preparing the certificate.
He then proceeded to request the court to allow statements that Sharon and Ralph Blaauw gave to the police during 2005 right after the Section 417 hearing into the missing SSC money.

The defence objected to the statements being entered into the evidence claiming they were made before the Blaauws knew that they were suspects in the matter.

According to the defence, the Blaauw couple made the statements in the belief that they would be called as State witnesses.
Marondedze asked the court to admit the statements as they contain certain admissions, which the State wants to use against the accused.
However, the defence team led by Sisa Namandje – appearing on behalf of the main accused, former Parliamentarian Paulus Ilonga Kapia – heavily objected saying that the statements are in direct contravention with the Criminal Procedure Act, which states that a suspect has the right not to incriminate himself/herself.

According to the defence, the statements were obtained under false pretences, as the Blaauws were made to believe that they are not suspects.

The former investigating officer in the matter, Samuel Zambwe, testified that he called the Blaauws into his office to clear up some allegations contained in the Section 417 enquiry, which implicated them.

According to him, he “advised them to consult a lawyer” and to provide him with a statement.
Zambwe said he did not treat them at the time as either State witnesses or suspects, but only as persons of interest.
Because of this, Marondedze claimed that the Blaauws made the statements freely and voluntarily and as such they are admissible as evidence.

No way, said the defence. If the Blaauws knew that the statements will be used against them, they would never have made them, Namandje and Gillroy Kasper – who appear on behalf of the Blaauws – argued.

Liebenberg reserved his ruling on the admissibility of the statements until June 15.
Kapia, Inez /Gâses, Otniel Podewiltz, the Blaauw couple, retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and 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 No. 61 of 1973 that was repealed and replaced with a new Act in 2010.

/Gâses is represented by Werner Boesak, Podewiltz by Kasper, Shiweda by Jan Wessels and Josea by Slysken Makando.

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