Final remand in witness fees scam case

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek

A Katutura magistrate ordered a final remand for finalization of investigations into the witness fees scam amounting to N$410 000 that transpired at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.

Michelle Kubersky issued a final remand after the prosecution informed the court that investigations are far from over as the investigative officer has not yet complied with all instructions given to her by the prosecutor-general.

“The instructions from the prosecutor-general are that each statement from the investigative officer should be obtained from clerks, magistrates and public prosecutors who signed the witness fees,” explained public prosecutor Lourinda Jacobs.

According to the investigative officer more statements need to be obtained and more people are yet to be arrested. At the start of investigations the amount stood at N$280 000, however after six months into the investigations the amount has now escalated to N$410 000.

The man at the centre of the witness fees scam is former prosecutor Ivan Tjizu. Tjizu is said to have allegedly fraudulently worked together with a network of people in claiming witness fees for people who travelled from outside Windhoek and were arranged to pose as state witnesses.

He allegedly misrepresented the witnesses to the presiding magistrate and as a result witness fees were falsely claimed and paid out. Once witness fees had been paid out to people who were arranged to pose as witnesses, Tjizu is alleged to have received part of the money.

The fraudulent activities transpired while Tjizu was employed by the office of the prosecutor general at Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.

Tjizu appeared in court with his co-accused Sackaria Mweendeleli Panduleni on charges of fraud, racketeering, corruptly using his office and position for self-gratification and corruptly using false documents for conspiring to commit offences under the ACC Act.

The duo were arrested after the Anti-Corruption Commission lodged an investigation against them.

Tjizu has been in custody since his arrest in December 2016 after the court refused him bail on two separate occasions whilst his co-accused is yet to apply to be released.

The accused’s defence attorneys Carlos Kamwi and Mbanga Siyomundji were not pleased with a further postponement to September, reasoning that the state had enough time to finalize their investigations.

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