Windhoek – The corruption trial of a former commissioner of the Public Service Commission Teckla Lameck and her co-accused Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese citizen Yang Fan is set to restart today in the Windhoek High Court.
The trial, now to be heard by Judge Christi Liebenberg, is set down until May 18 and then again from June 4 to June 22.
The trial is to start afresh after Lameck and her co-accused managed to have the original judge, Maphios Cheda, removed from their case for perceived bias.
Three judges of the Supreme Court found that Lameck and her co-accused had reason to believe Judge Cheda was prejudicial towards them when he made reference to warrants instead of summonses in a judgement delivered on the admissibility of evidence obtained through summonses issued by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The matter was ordered back to the High Court to start afresh before a new judge. This effectively meant that the trial, which started in April 2013, four years after the arrest of the three accused in 2009, was put back on the pre-trial roster for a judge to be allocated and trial dates to be set down.
The 21 witnesses that already testified will now be called back to court to give their testimonies again and the defence will probably again dispute summonses issued by the ACC which caused the recusal application against Judge Cheda.
Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang are accused of committing fraud counting into millions of Namibia dollars. The State alleges that the trio defrauded the government and Swapo company Namib Contract Haulage.
While Lameck and Mokaxwa alone are accused of defrauding the Swapo-owned company, where they worked, of at least US$144,000 for the purchase of four tipper trucks, they together with Yang are accused of a range of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act.
It is alleged that Lameck, Yang and Mokaxwa duped government through the Ministry of Finance to pay an inflated price of US$55,348,800 for scanners to be used at airports and border posts.
In fact, the State alleges, the price was inflated with an amount of US$12,828,800 meant as ‘commission’ for Teko Trading that facilitated the transaction.
The other charges – Lameck faces 18, Mokaxwa 12 and Yang 6 – relate to violating the Immigration Control Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and further contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act.
The two Namibians and the Chinese national were arrested on July 8 and 9, 2009 in Windhoek in connection with the alleged massive fraud, through which the Ministry of Finance bought security scanning equipment from a Chinese company.
Lameck and Mokaxwa are currently free on bail of N$50,000 each and Yang on bail of N$1 million.
All three already entered pleas of not guilty to a host of fraud charges on April 8, 2010.
Nuctech allegedly entered into two contracts with Namibian close corporation Teko Trading CC in February 2009, in which Lameck and Mokaxwa each had a 50 percent members’ interest. One contract was described as an agency agreement and the other was for consulting services.