Windhoek-Millionaire businessman Laurensius Julius, who together with six Chinese businesspersons is accused of defrauding the taxman of at least N$3.5 billion in import taxes, is asking the Windhoek High Court to change the charges he is facing.
Julius, together with prominent Chinese-born businessman Yuigua Huang, popularly known as ‘Jack Huang’, Tao Huizhong, Jinrong Huang, Zhu Honggang and businesswoman Hongyin Jia, faces charges of tax evasion, fraud and money laundering involving N$3.5 billion.
He is currently free on an N$1.5 million bond.
Julius is asking the High Court to set aside the decision of the prosecutor-general (PG) to arraign him on charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
He is also asking the High Court to order the PG to provide him with copies of all the evidence and documents to be used in the trial against him. He needs this to prepare for the review proceedings in the High Court, Julius stated in an affidavit filed with the court. He also stated in his court papers that his business, Extreme Customs Clearance Services, has ceased operations due to the events that prevailed.
According to Julius, he is hampered by the fact that in the review proceedings such as the one he lodged, the vast majority of the relevant evidence and source documents relating to the decision that to be reviewed are in the hands of the PG or persons under her control.
“I have not yet obtained access to such evidence and documents, which I am advised will form part of the review record that is to be filed by the respondent,” he said. “By the same token, I am hampered by the fact that I have not yet obtained access to the respondent’s reasons, if any, supporting the decision that is sought to be reviewed, which I am likewise advised will be filed by the respondent.”
Julius further said two witnesses already testified against him at his bail hearing after the impugned decision on what charges he should be arraigned was taken. According to him, their evidence showed that the decision to indict him under the POCA Act cannot stand.
According to Julius, the decision to charge him under the POCA Act was arbitrary and lacked a rational basis, therefore, is irrational, and such irrationality offends the principle of legality and the rule of law. “As such, the impugned decision was unlawful and unconstitutional,” Julius argued.
He went on to say when viewed objectively, the impugned decision was taken in the absence of any evidence to support the same. “The impugned decision falls within the ambit of Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution, and as provided therein I have the right to seek redress before this court with regards to the same,” he stated.
Article 18 says administrative bodies or officials should act reasonably and fairly. He further stated that it is important for him to point out to the court that in respect of both charges – fraud and money laundering – it was Extreme’s conduct that was concerned and not his personal conduct. However, notwithstanding this, the PG decided to charge him in his personal capacity and not in his representative capacity as Director of Extreme pursuant to Section 332(5) of the Criminal Procedure Act that makes provision for a director to be charged.
Regarding the application to be provided with the documentation, presiding judge Thomas Masuku indicated that he would give his ruling on April 19.
Advocate JP Vorster SC assisted by Advocate Charles Wesley and Advocate Slysken Makando instructed by Dirk Conradie represent Julius in the application while Mehluli Ndlovu, instructed by the Government Attorneys, represents the PG.