Accused in N$140 million VAT fraud case want bail

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Windhoek

Fifteen Angolans and two Namibians who face fraud charges involving N$140 million from the Receiver of Revenue want bail.

They were nabbed by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officers last December and spent Christmas and New Year’s Day behind bars after they were denied bail at their last court appearance. They subsequently filed a formal application and the bail hearing is currently underway in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.

Two Namibians allegedly connived with several Angolans to help them submit false tax refund claims to the Receiver of Revenue.

The Namibian accused are Joshua Kaviyu Hidinwa, Mamsy Mweneni Hilma Nuuyoma, while the Angolan nationals were identified as Lukau Nestor, Benvindo Momafuba, Pembele Zimutu, Paulo Kiala, Joaquim Pedro Espanhol, Joao Manuel dos Santos, Tatiana Luquena Muchadu Gonga, Carlos Victor Eliseu, Isaac Cativa Cupessala, Paquete Americo Kapayola Jose, Eugenio Pio do Amaral Gougel, Malakias Tomas Rufine, Paulino Manuel Natal, Carlos Felecoano Tchinduku and Miapa Aurelio Nelson.

Hidinwa, the first accused, alone faces a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud, while he and his co-accused face charges of fraud, forgery and uttering. They were arrested at the VAT office near the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule in Windhoek, while trying to claim tax refunds. The arrests came as a result of ongoing investigations at the request of the finance ministry into cases where VAT receipts were forged to claim refunds from the Receiver of Revenue.

During the bail hearing, one of the accused, Cativa Cupessala, 43, explained his use of tax invoices to claim back money from transactions involving the passage of goods between Angola and Namibia, or any other country. Cupessala said he exports goods to Angola from Namibia for his clients. He did not specify the type of goods involved, but said in some cases, his clients buy products and use his name and his “commerce card number” to import goods into Angola.

Cupessala said the Ministry of Commerce in Angola issued him a commerce card, which allows the transfer of goods between Namibia and Angola. The Angolan national said he then receives payment from his clients for using his name and card, and also receives the tax invoices used during the export process, which he then takes to the Ministry of Finance in Namibia for a tax refund.

The accused informed the court that there was no way of authenticating the tax invoices he received from his clients, and denied any involvement in any fraudulent activities, or the State’s accusation of falsifying the invoices. Cupessala further indicated to the court he would be able to pay N$10 000 for his release on bail, pending trial.
Magistrate Ilge Rheent is presiding over the case.

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