An alleged bogus car insurance claim landed a 31-year-old Namibian man in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
According to the charge sheet the insurance fraud suspect Sadick Siwile Chombo, a statistician by profession, “wrongfully, unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud give out and pretended to Dirk Jacobus Peters as per Alexander Forbes Insurance Company that his 2009 Audi A4 2.0 TDI, with registration number N 157-847 W, was involved in a motor vehicle accident and as a result submitted an insurance claim to Alexander Forbes” in the amount of N$154 846.49.
It is alleged in doing so he by means of false pretence induced the insurance company to arrange to pay the claim but he knew that the mentioned vehicle was not involved in an accident and he was not entitled to submit the claim. Chombo was represented by Kalundu Kamwi and was not asked to plead to the charges.
Magistrate Ndapewa Amadhila postponed the matter to October 13 for further investigations.
Public Prosecutor Erastus Hatutale proposed bail in the amount of N$8 000, but defence counsel Kamwi was quick to object to the amount, calling it the same as an outright refusal of bail.
He said that there was only potential loss and not real loss and the bail amount proposed is too high.
According to Kamwi, his client is a Namibian citizen with his roots here and cannot be considered a flight risk. He said Chombo is employed at the Namibian Statistics Agency as a statistician and has a six-year-old son he looks after. He has a permanent address in Windhoek and has moveable property valued at N$250 000, Kamwi stated, adding that the purpose of bail is not punishment, but for the accused to be at liberty and come to court to deal with the charges preferred against him.
“The amount of N$8 000 will keep him in custody longer than necessary and the accused needs to return to work and take care of his son, as well as pay for his accommodation” Kamwi implored the magistrate. He said that if Chombo is made to stay in custody for a long period the chances that he will lose his job increase and it will be a shame for another graduate to roam the streets, adding to the unemployed. According to Kamwi, his client can only afford bail in the amount of N$2 000.
His pleas however fell on deaf ears as the magistrate was of the opinion that the amount proposed is fair in the circumstances. She said that she took the personal circumstances of the accused into account, but the nature of the charge he is facing and the amount involved which is relatively high should be considered as well.
“In as much as no actual loss was suffered in this matter, it does not take away the seriousness of the charge the accused is facing, and looking at the seriousness of the charge the court ought to give a bail amount that will secure the accused’s attendance at court to the end of his case,” Amadhila said. She continued: “The accused is a qualified statistician and in the court’s view N$2 000 bail as requested by the defence will send a sense of shock in society.”
Thus, she said that in her view the amount of N$8 000 is appropriate in the matter.