Six in court over N$4 million fraud

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Maria Amakali
Windhoek

Six people accused of defrauding N$4 million from a loan scheme of Local Authorities and Utility Services for Namibia retirement fund, that was administered by Alexander Forbes Financial Services in 2007, made their appearance before High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo this week with one of the victims testifying.

Sharon Desiree Ramann, Hendrik Francisco Davis, Jan Johannes Jansen, Jeremiah Metaatu, Severen Iiyambo and Alta Norma Visser face a total of 265 charges, of which 163 charges are counts of fraud, alternatively theft, and 94 counts of corruption.

Their alleged fraud caused the fund to lose N$4,083 million.
Christophine Mbingeneeko, a former employee at City of Windhoek’s traffic department,took the stand yesterday and alleged that her signature had been forged by the accused.

Mbingeneeko took out a loan of N$7,000 with the pension fund to repair her house in 2003, for the repayment of which monthly deductions of N$307 were made from her account as repayment of the loan.

She was later informed she could qualify for a second loan of N$35,000 although she still owed money on her first loan. The loan of N$35,000 was soon approved and she was called to collect her cheque.

“The cheque showed an amount of N$35,907 but I was later informed the loan was for an amount of N$158,670,” narrated Mbingeneeko, who resigned from the traffic department in 2008.

She was later informed that she still owed an amount of N$15,000 without any indications what the amount was for. “A deposit slip from a local commercial bank indicated that I deposited N$15,000, which is a lie,” Mbingeneeko said, insisting that she never signed that deposit slip.

According to the prosecution, members of the fund were allowed to take out home loans and could qualify for a second loan only if their first loan had been fully paid off or a period of five years had passed since the first loan had been granted.

The State holds that between May 2003 and March 2005 the accused persons had fraudulently and corruptly manipulated home loan facilities intended for members of the Local Authorities and Utility Services for Namibia pension fund.

The accused allegedly through presence informed the members that the money deducted would be used to settle their outstanding loans, but the loans were never paid off, as the accused made false entries to indicate that the loans had indeed been paid off, with the result that pension fund members would be eligible to take out second home loans.

During that period the accused allegedly received corrupt payments meant for the facilitation of the loans. It is alleged that they pocked the illicit proceeds.
Ramann – who is charged in all 265 fraud counts as well as eight corruption charges – and her five co-accused are scheduled to reappear in court today for the continuation of the trial.

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