Windhoek-Windhoek Magistrate Vanessa Stanley yesterday granted two former employees of the Namibian Sports Commission (NSC) bail of N$40,000 each, on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that Ivonne Nande, 35, and Walter Haseb, 46, were not fit to be released on bail.
The pair’s gloomy faces lit up in excitement when Magistrate Stanley handed down her judgment in their favour in a fully packed courtroom.
“The court is convinced with probable cause that the accused persons are liable to be released on bail,” Stanley explained.
Haseb, who was employed as the NSC’s acting chief administrator, and former development officer Nande, were abruptly arrested in July by the Anti-Corruption Commission for the alleged embezzlement of N$4.9 million of NSC funds.
The prosecution is charging Haseb and Nande with corruptly using their office for gratification
and an alternative charge of theft in connection with 30 cheques issued, amounting to N$4,96 million.
According to the internal auditor of the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture, the cheques were written to benefit various sports associations, who never received the funds though.
The State opposed granting bail to the two accused, saying they had attempted to bribe the internal auditor with N$40,000, which constitutes interference with investigations and it would thus not be in the best interest of justice to release them on bail, as the alleged offences are of a serious nature.
“There is no credible evidence that indicates that there was any interference with witnesses or the investigations,” Stanley found.
He said the court could not find any sufficient basis to suggest how the pair could interfere with ongoing investigations, as they are no longer employed by the NSC.
“Bail should not refused on grounds that a person holds a public office,” Stanley further explained.
As part of their bail conditions, Haseb and Nande were told that they are to report in person at Okahandja police station every Friday. They may also not leave Namibia without the consent of the investigation officer, must hand over all travel documents, and may not apply for new travel documents until their trial is finalised.
The two are expected to be back in court on February 19 next year, following a lengthy postponement yesterday to allow for further investigations.