Fisheries employee in N$500,000 fraud

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Eveline de Klerk

Walvis Bay-The Namibian Police at Walvis Bay on Monday arrested an employee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in connection with fraud amounting to N$2.2 million.

The suspect has appeared in court, and the state alleges that out of the N$2.2 million the suspect personally embezzled N$500,000.

Police arrested 49-year-old Ivory Uirab in connection with the N$2.2 million fraud allegedly committed at the Ministry of Finance’s Inland Revenue Division at Walvis Bay between April 2013 and November 2016.

Uirab was arrested along with local entrepreneur Patrick Ihulu Hilifa and Michelle Haokoa – believed to be a teacher at the coastal town.

Preliminary investigations indicated that Uirab allegedly pocketed N$500,000, while Hilifa received N$106,000 and Haokoa N$80,000 from the fraudulent activities.

The trio made their first appearance on Wednesday and Tuesday and the court granted Hilifa and Haokao bail of N$10,000 each.  The court denied Uirab bail and he remains in police custody.

Chief Inspector Erastus Iikuyu of the Walvis Bay police said the case implicated at least 23 persons in the fraudulent activities.

NamPol identified three of the suspects as employees of the Ministry of Finance, who are believed to be the main culprits in the case.

They apparently created forged Pay As You Earn (PAYE 5) certificates in the names of friends and relatives and processed them, resulting in fraudulently obtained tax refunds of around N$2.2 million.

“So far we have arrested 16 people, including the latest three arrests and we are surely closing in on the last seven suspects,” Chief Inspector Iikuyu said.

In addition to the three, police have also arrested Henry Enrico Visagie, Janette Garoes and Anna-Marie Mutilifa. They are all employees of the Ministry of Finance and are still in police custody.

Others suspects arrested are Wellmina Visagie, Morne Feris, Jacqueline Imbili, Marlon Ruzyanne Prins, Lukas Shailemo, Patrick Ronoc Titus, Ouinton Zane Mathews and Michael Mclobo.

They are out on bail of N$10,000 each with the exception of Roselli Leonardo, an Italian national for whom the court imposed bail of N$50,000.

The court fined another suspect, Velnancio Muller, and sentenced him to three months imprisonment for contempt of court after he threatened Magistrate Rhiverno Williams during court proceedings on Tuesday. The magistrate also revoked his bail money of N$10,000.

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