A case against five people, who stood accused of defrauding the Windhoek office of South African Airways of N$3.8 million, was withdrawn on Wednesday in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court after the magistrate refused a further remand.
The five allegedly pretended that passengers’ luggage was lost or damaged and as a result the airline incurred huge losses. The fraud was reportedly committed between January and August 2013.
The five accused are Sonyan Nanuses, Roche Manetti, Brigitte Eiman, Josef Brinkman and Sam Maliah.
Prosecutor Tatelo Lusepani explained that the docket was not at court and informed the magistrate that the investigating officer would only be available next week. “His office is locked and we do not have access to it,” he said.
“We understand that this is a final remand, but taking the amount involved into account, we request another remand,” Lusepani said.
Mbanga Siyomundji, the defence lawyer for Nanuses and Eiman objected to any further remand. Boris Isaacs, representing Manetti, also objected to the remand. “I hold instructions to vigorously oppose the remand,” he said.
Isaacs said that on August 31 the State indicated the docket would be in court on Wednesday, and said it would be a final remand. “There is no evidence to substantiate a further remand. I find it disturbing that the docket is not at court, because the office is locked,” the defence lawyer said.
Magistrate Justine Asino said: “Although the State is alleging that the value involved is quite high, they are not treating the matter seriously. Where exactly is the investigating officer and what efforts were made to trace the keys to his office, considering it was the final remand for docket?” Asino asked. She then refused a further remand.
Eiman was the only one free on bail of N$50 000, while the rest were out on bail of N$10 000. Their bail monies were refunded to them and the matter struck from the roll.