Windhoek-The long-running Avid corruption and theft trial in the Windhoek High Court was late last week postponed to May next year to give the opposing counsels time to prepare submissions for the verdict in the drawn-out case, which dates back to 2004.
Judge Christi Liebenberg agreed to the latest postponement as the court record contains thousands of pages, including various documents and exhibits, that need to be studied. The main stage of the trial ended with the cross-examination of Nico Josea by State Advocate Ed Marondedze, assisted by Advocate Cliff Lutibezi.
During his cross-examination Marondedze accused Josea point-blank that he was lying to the court about the manner in which the investment was handled and said N$30 million in taxpayer money was wasted by Josea, as if it were his money from his back pocket.
Josea informed the court that after he invested N$20 million with Alan Rosenberg in South Africa on the instructions of late Lazarus Kandara, he then cancelled the investment almost immediately on Kandara’s instructions and asked for the money back.
At that stage however, he said, Rosenberg had already invested the money in a short high-risk investment and agreed to return the money plus the accrued interest in instalments of N$15 million.
According to what Josea, Rosenberg then paid N$15 million into the account of Namangol Investments, of which Josea was the principal shareholder, and he and Kandara agreed that the money should remain in his account as a loan.
He denied that he stole the money, as the State alleges, and said since Kandara loaned him the money he invested it as he thought wise, so as to profit from it.
Seemingly trying to dodge various pointed questions from Marondedze, the beleaguered Josea offered explanations, only to be trapped in another hole by Marondedze confronting him with evidence he produced at the South African High Court during his court case against Rosenberg.
“You adduce the evidence as it suits the court you’re in,” he told Josea and flat out called the accused businessman a liar who tried to deceive the court. He further told Josea that he was never loaned the money by Kandara; that he stole the money and used it as his own.
Former deputy minister of works Paulus Kapia, Inez Gases, local lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, Sharon Blaauw and her husband Ralph Blaauw, retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and Josea are all charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, and a host of charges of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business, in contravention of the Companies Act of 1973, that was repealed and replaced with a new Act in 2010.
Josea alone is charged with theft.
Judge Liebenberg recently dismissed an application by the seven accused in the Avid saga for all charges against them to be dropped for lack of evidence. The judge ordered that indeed they have questions to answer.
Josea is represented by Advocate Slysken Makando on instruction of legal aid, Gases by Petrie Theron, Shiweda by Jan Wessels and Kapia by Sisa Namandje. Gilroy Kasper is representing Podewiltz and the Blaauw couple.