WINDHOEK – Judgment in the long running Avid corruption and theft trial in the Windhoek High Court involving N$30 million of the Social Security Commission (SSC) that went missing through a dubious investment deal between December 2004 and August 2005 is scheduled for Friday at 10H00.
High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg announced this yesterday after hearing closing arguments from the defense counsels in the matter that is coming from May 2014 when all the accused pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The charges are in connection with a SSC investment of N$30 million that was placed with an asset management company, Avid Investment Corporation, owned by the late Lazarus Kandara, and channelled to another asset management company, Namangol Investments, in January 2005. The State is alleging that of the N$30 million that the SSC transferred to Avid to be invested, N$29.5 million was transferred to Namangol Investments, which was owned and run by Nico Josea. Of this money, some N$14.9 million landed in Josea’s personal bank account in mid-March 2005, and he went on to deal with the money as if it was his own, it is also alleged.
Kandara died in apparent suicide just hours after he was arrested. The judge already dismissed some of the charges the accused persons faced and the defense now wants the accused to be acquitted on the rest of the charges.
Sisa Namandje who represents former Member of Parliament Paulus Kapia argued that the State failed miserably to prove any of their allegations against him. According to him the only thing his client is guilty of is being naïve and ignorant as he accepted to serve as a director of Avid without any experience and skill in the field and this is not a crime, it can happen to any novice. He asked the court to acquit Kapia on the remaining two charges he face – fraud and reckless or fraudulent conduct of business.
Pedrie Theron, the lawyer for Inez /Gâses argued that his client as an innocent pawn in the plans of Kandara. He asked the court to condone her gullibility and acquit her as she only followed orders from someone she trusted.
According to Gilroy Kasper who represented Otniel Podewiltz, Sharon Blaauw and her husband Ralph Blaauw there is really only one question in this case, which is: Did the Avid role-players know what was planned behind the scenes with regard to the SSC funds hence approaching the SSC with the sole purpose to defraud SSC? “Considering all available evidence as a whole it is our respectful submission that the answer to the above question is a definite and big no,” he stated. On behalf of retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda, his lawyer Jan Wessels argued that Shiweda too was not involved in the day to day running of the company and thus cannot be guilty of something he had nothing to do with.
With regards to Josea, his State funded lawyer, Slysken Makando argued that in the absence of a direct link between Josea and the SSC money, the court cannot convict. According to Makando, the State had to prove besides elements such as unlawfulness, intention, appropriation of property, that Josea was entrusted with the N$30 million of the SSC and/or that he was not an innocent party, in that he knew that the money paid into Namangol’s account by Kandara was stolen cash of the SSC and that after such discovery he regardless committed acts of misappropriation.