The High Court trial of the three people accused of defrauding the Ministry of Finance of N$54 million in 2009 will resume in August next year.
The trio – Namibians Teckla Lameck, 48, and Jerobeam Mokaxwa, 30; as well as Chinese national Yang Fan, 39 – made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg in Windhoek on Friday morning, when their trial was remanded to August 29 2016.
The postponement is to allow the Supreme Court to pronounce itself on an appeal by the group against the dismissal of their application for the recusal of Acting High Court Judge Maphios Cheda from the trial.
Acting Judge Cheda, who is the judge in the hearing, dismissed the trio’s application for his recusal in a judgment handed down by himself in the High Court on November 14 2014.
After the dismissal of their application for the recusal, the accused through their defence lawyer Sisa Namandje approached the Supreme Court with an urgent application appealing against the dismissal of his clients’ application.
The appeal by the three accused is pending in the Supreme Court.
Acting Judge Maphios Cheda was seconded from the Harare Court Circuit in Zimbabwe to preside over the high-profile hearing.
Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang are accused of defrauding the government and Swapo Party company Namib Contract Haulage. Lameck and Mokaxwa are accused of defrauding Namib Contract Haulage of at least US$144 000 for the purchase of four tipper trucks, when they were in the full-time employment of the company.
The trio are also accused of duping government through the Ministry of Finance to pay an inflated price of N$55 348 800 for scanners to be used at airports and border posts.
In fact, the State alleges, the price was inflated with an amount of N$12 828 800 meant as ‘commission’ for Teko Trading, which facilitated the transaction.
The other charges relate to transgressions of the Immigration Control Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and further contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act. Lameck is charged with doing work for remuneration outside her office as a member of the Public Service Commission by inducing the Ministry of Finance as the principal agent of the Republic of Namibia to purchase the scanners from Nuctech, a company based in China. It is alleged that Lameck received commission amounting to US$4 229 348.05 from Nuctech, which fees she allegedly shared with her co-accused.
During the trial, the court heard from an expert in foreign exchange on the commission received by Lameck and Mokaxwa through Teko Trading, in which both held equal shares.
Neville Davids, who during the payment of the ‘commission’ was working at Bank Windhoek as a senior advisor to relationship managers, testified that one of the relationship managers, Lukas Nanyemba, approached him during February 2009 for advice on a new corporate client.
He said that Nanyemba asked him about requirements needed for influx of foreign currency into the country. According to Davids, he advised Nanyemba and also did his own due diligence to ensure that the money was “good money”.
He further testified that US$1 509 280 arrived in the country from Nuctech in China for Teko Trading on March 11 2009. He said that after he did his “due diligence” whereby he ascertained that the money indeed came from a legitimate source, the money was cleared into Teko Trading’s account. According to Davids, another transfer was effected from Nuctech to Teko Trading the following day, March 12 2009, for the amount of US$1.6 million.
Judge Christie Liebenberg presided on Friday. Advocate Shakwa Nyambe represented the State.