WINDHOEK – The former chief executive officer of the Rehoboth Town Council, Theodor Jankowski, was on Monday cleared on corruption charges on appeal in the Windhoek High Court because the record of his trial in the Rehoboth Regional Court is missing and could not be reconstructed.
Jankowski was convicted of non-disclosure of interest in a tender bid in 2009 in which he is alleged to have chaired a tender board meeting that awarded a road construction tender to Orion Construction, which is owned by his son’s father-in-law. He failed to declare his interest when the contract was awarded, it was alleged.
He was charged for violating section 84A of the Local Authorities Act 23 of 1992 and sentenced to pay a fine of N$2,000 or spend six months in prison.
Jankowski appealed the conviction and sentence.
High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka who wrote the appeal judgement in agreement with Judge Naomi Shivute said that in lieu of the fact that the record cannot be reconstructed as indicated by both defence and State counsels, as well as the magistrate who presided over the matter, the proceedings in the trial are rendered out of place and of no force or effect. As a result the appeal succeeds and the conviction and sentence are set aside.
His conviction follows the sudden resignation of one of his key witnesses, former acting CEO Willie Swartz, who previously told the court that there was no need for Jankowski to recuse himself from the tender board meeting because “the bidder in question was remotely related to the former CEO”. Swartz also told the court that the awarding of the tender was procedurally and substantially correct in terms of pricing and meeting the requirements.