Avid accused seek acquittal

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Windhoek

The seven accused in the  Avid Investments hearing in the Windhoek High Court want a discharge after the State closed its case.

All five of the defence counsels indicated to Judge Christi Liebenberg they would  bring applications for the dismissal of the case against their clients in line with Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

A Section 174 discharge is when an accused can be discharged without having to present his or her case if the State failed to prove its case against such an accused at the end of its case.

A judge may then decide to either grant the discharge or put the accused on their defence should he find the accused have a case to answer.

State Advocate Ed Marondedze told the court the State had no choice but to close its case after they failed to get South African investor Alan Rosenberg to testify about the missing N$30 million the Social Security Commission (SSC) entrusted with little known investment company Avid Investments.

Rosenberg was the man who was entrusted to invest N$30 million the SSC gave to Lazarus Kandara, the late 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.

Judge Liebenberg in the meantime admitted into evidence the two statements drafted by Sharon and Ralph Blaauw, saying  the statements were made freely and voluntarily.

A perusal of the statements revealed nothing out of the ordinary and mainly repeated what they said in their plea explanations handed in at the start of their trial.

It mainly says Sharon was invited to join Avid as a director and that her husband who thought it was a sound business promoted it vigorously.

Both denied they received money from either the late Kandara or his wife and that they did not know Nico Josea nor had any dealings with him.

Sisa Namandje, who represents Paulus Ilonga Kapia, informed the court that he was ready with his application for a Section 174 discharge as he contemplated that the State would fail to secure Rosenberg’s attendance and as such already drafted his heads of argument.

Namandje informed the court he would deliver his arguments on why his client must be discharged today and that he expected to take up most of the morning session.

Werner Boesak who appears for Inez /Gases in turn told the court that he was in a similar position and was ready to argue his client’s case as well.

Gilroy Kasper for Otniel Podewiltz and the Blaauw couple said he was ready to argue his clients’ case as well.

On his part, Jan Wessels who represents retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda said he too would bring a Section 174 application and so did Advocate Slysken Makando for Josea.

The accused are all charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, and a host of charges of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business, which are in contravention of the Companies Act, Act 61 of 1973 that was repealed and replaced with a new Act in 2010.

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