The bail hearing of three men charged with fraud and tax evasion amounting to N$3.5 billion was postponed to 10h30 today after the State failed to secure a Mandarin interpreter for two of the accused.
Public Prosecutor Rowan van Wyk informed Magistrate Alweendo Venasius that efforts to secure the services of a Mandarin interpreter have failed so far and that the Office of the Prosecutor General are pulling out all the stops to get hold of an interpreter.
Defense attorney Sisa Namandje did not take kindly to the delay, lamenting the State’s “lackadaisical attitude”.
He also put it on record that his clients, Chinese nationals Tao Huizhong, 46, and Jinrong Huang, 36, were not yet informed of the charges they face in a language they understand, as prescribed by the Constitution.
He said his clients were first arraigned at Onhangwena and then unceremoniously sent to Windhoek without knowing why they were arrested and detained. “I am very much disappointed, dismayed and utterly shocked at the State’s tactics,” Namandje said and continued that he hoped the State gets its house in order for the bail hearing to start in earnest.
Advocate Louis Botes on instruction from Dirk Conradie echoed Namandje’s sentiments, but argued that his client, Namibian citizen Julius Laurentius, 47, understands English and in the event a Mandarin interpreter is not available today, the bail hearing in respect of his client should nevertheless proceed.
The case was filed after cash in the amount of some N$3.5 billion was reportedly found in a container in Oshikango ready to be transported to Walvis Bay, where it was to be loaded onto a ship bound for China.
Laurentius, who is said to be employed as a customs official, was arrested at Walvis Bay, while the two Chinese nationals were arrested at Oshikango.