The matter in which seven people stand accused of swindling N$4.9 million from the Ministry of Works and Transport last year has been transferred to the regional court, the magistrate’s court informed the six accused when they returned to court on Monday.
New Era broke the story in July last year about the alleged fraud.
The accused are Jane Ndapandula Kashiyukile, 43; Manuel Heyn, 53; Brown Rasta Abraham, 40; Jacobus Totie Gurirab, 44; Berend Johannes Neels, 50; Castro Mafitelo Lifalaza, 28 and Ali Fadl Ayoub, 41. They face corruption charges.
Prosecutor Joseph Andreas informed the court that the Prosecutor General decided the seven should be arraigned in the regional court in Katutura, where they now have a date set for October 29.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested the accused between June and September last year after a local commercial bank alerted the authorities about a suspicious transaction that the accused had intended to complete.
This was after an amount of N$4.9 million, supposed to be channelled into the account of K L Construction, was diverted into the bank account of Etanaka Trading Zone cc, a company allegedly owned by Heyn.
The intended recipient of the money K L Construction was awarded the tender to construct the road between Oshigambo and Eenhana, bordering the Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions. During its investigations, the ACC found that Lifalaza, the works ministry accountant, facilitated the process of diverting the money from K L Construction’s account to that of Etanaka.
It has so far been established that Etanaka has no business relations with the works ministry or with K L Construction.
“It is alleged Gurirab approached Neels at the Ministry of Health and Social Services to request the change of banking details of K L Construction (Pty) Ltd to Etanaka Trading Zone cc,” ACC spokesperson Albert Mbanga said at the time.
Neels allegedly involved his colleague Kashiyukile, who authored a letter to the Ministry of Finance with instructions to pay the money into – unbeknown to the finance ministry – Etanaka’s bank account. This was supposedly because K L Construction had changed its banking details and had requested that the money be paid into the newly-provided account.
To see if the money had indeed been deposited, an initial N$500 was allegedly withdrawn from an ATM.
After that the accused allegedly proceeded to withdraw N$2 million from inside the bank, raising suspicion among bank officials.
Magistrate John Sindano presided on Monday.