Conradie, Damases plead not guilty to corruption charges

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Windhoek

Prominent Windhoek lawyer Dirk Conradie and his long-time friend Sara Ngenohani Damases pleaded not guilty on Friday in the High Court to corruption charges.
Conradie, 54, and Damases, 49, are jointly charged with three counts in terms of the Anti-Corruption Act, namely, allegedly corruptly soliciting gratification, corruptly using an office or position to obtain gratification, and attempting or conspiring to contravene sections of the Anti-Corruption Act.
The former chairperson of cellphone firm MTC, Conradie also faces a fourth charge in terms of the Companies Act, namely, allegedly failing to disclose an interest in a contract of significance to be entered into by a company.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges. On the fourth charge, Conradie indicated through a statement read by his lawyer that the court does not have jurisdiction to try him.
The matter will proceed from August 8 – 19 in the High Court.
Counts 1 to 3 deal with contravention of the Anti-Corruption Act and relate to both accused, while count 4 deals with contravening the Companies Act and relates to Conradie alone.
In count 1, the indictment states that the accused are guilty of corruptly soliciting or agreeing to accept for the benefit of himself or another person a gratification as an inducement or reward to influence procuring a contract.
In count 2, they are accused of corruptly using office or position to obtain a gratification for self or another person, the indictment states.
Count 3 states both are accused of attempting or conspiring to contravene the previous allegations and count 4 alleges that Conradie failed to disclose an interest in a contract of significance to be entered into by the company.
They were arrested in June 2012 after Mark Bongers and his wife Kim Field – owners of advertising agency DV8 Saatchi and Saatchi – allegedly availed to the ACC a tape recording of Conradie soliciting a bribe from them.
Conradie allegedly told Bongers he will use his position as board chair of the MTC to ensure DV8 got the telecommunication giant’s lucrative N$60 million advertising tender in return for them taking Damases on board as a black economic empowerment (BEE) partner in their company.
The recordings were allegedly made by Bongers in a meeting held at Conradie & Damaseb law firm’s offices on June 12, 2012.
The case was initially withdrawn in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court by Magistrate Hileni Kavara.
They were then re-summoned three years ago in early October to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. They were informed that the prosecutor general had decided to arraign them in the High Court. The two are free on bail of N$30 000 each.
Acting Judge Thomas Masuku presided. State advocate Ed Marondedze represented the State.
Advocate Slysken Makando represented Conradie. Damases was represented by James Diedericks.

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