More trouble is brewing on the horizon for embattled coastal estate agent Erwin Sprangers, 58, as he together with his wife Lorinda Sprangers now faces criminal charges, in addition to a lawsuit of over N$6.7 million, money allegedly stolen from a Congolese army general in a property deal that went sour.
Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa has decided to charge the Sprangers couple criminally in the High Court over the disappearance of the money.
Sprangers alone faces a charge of fraud but together with his wife faces five charges of theft by conversion, alternatively theft.
They made a first pre-trial appearance in the High Court yesterday before Judge Christi Liebenberg.
Their legal representative, Ilse Aggenbach, informed the court that she received discovery of the docket and requested the court to extend Sprangers’ bail and his wife’s warning to the next court appearance. She also informed the judge that the couple will be represented by Advocate Louis Botes in their trial. State Advocate Erich Moyo represents the state.
The matter arises from a business transaction between Sprangers and Democratic Republic of Congo Army General Francois Olenga during January, 2010 when it was allegedly agreed that Olenga would deposit US$900 000 into the trust banking account of Sprangers’ estate agency, Kintcher Estates, as trust money for the development of two properties the general owned at the coast, or for the acquisition of further properties for Olenga.
According to the charge sheet, the money was to be held in trust for Olenga and could only be used for purposes approved by Olenga and would immediately be paid back to Olenga on request.
According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, Sprangers agreed with Olenga that Olenga would pay funds into his bank account for the purpose of developing Olenga’s properties in Namibia. He then misrepresented to Olenga that should Olenga avail the said funds, he (Spranger) would hold and keep in trust such funds on behalf of Olenga.
The state further alleges that Sprangers misrepresented to Olenga that he would only spend the funds on “expenditure expressly approved” (prior to spending) by Olenga and would upon demand pay back the funds to Olenga.
During the period extending from February 10, 2010 to July 6, 2010, the complainant’s funds totalling N$6 785 318.76 were transferred by Breadfield Trade Ltd on the instructions of Olenga in five tranches into Kintscher Estate Agents and Auctioneers’ First National Bank account with number 554 6004 0542, which banking details (purporting to be that of the accused’s trust bank account, whilst it was actually that of their business account) were supplied to Olenga by the Sprangers, the indictment reads.
It further said that either one of the Sprangers couple had signature rights on the account.
According to the state, once the money was in their said bank account, the Sprangers couple, between February 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010 stole or misappropriated it and/or converted all of the general’s money to their own use.