WINDHOEK – The trial of Cameroon-born businessman Antoine ‘Tony’ Mbok, 42, on allegations of corruption and his co-accused Daniel David
Nghiwilepo, 43, was again postponed until April 09 next
year, after a pause of more than a year. The postponement came after Boris Isaacks, the lawyer for Nghiwilepo indicated to the Windhoek High Court Judge that his instructed counsel, Advocate Louis Botes, will not be available until then and applied for the lengthy postponement.
Mbok’s legal aid lawyer, Bronell Uirab, had no objection to the lengthy postponement as well as State Advocate Hesekiel Ipinge.
The trial which was supposed to have started in 2013 already, has been hampered with setback and delays.
Judge Ndauendapo is still to give a ruling on the admissibility of voice recordings Veronika Kituna Thomas allegedly made of conversations she had with Nghiwilepo.
Thomas pleaded guilty to five counts of corruptly using her office at the Ministry of Finance and her position for self-gratification at the start of the trial before High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on February 10, 2012 and sentenced to an effective eight years imprisonment.
After Thomas’ guilty plea, her trial was separated from that of Mbok, his company MFinance and Nghiwilepo.
Substantial facts contained in the charge-sheet have it that the two men in cahoots with Thomas – who was a registry clerk at the Ministry of Finance – allegedly defrauded several Namibian businesses and government agencies of up to N$3.9 million in Valued-Added Tax (VAT) and returns for import VAT.
Mbok, his corporation MFinance and Namibian national, Daniel David Nghiwilepo (40), faces charges of fraud and corruption involving N$3.9 million.
MFinance (Pty) Limited is a duly registered corporate body, registered in accordance with Namibian Laws with Mbok as its sole owner and director.
Mbok is the first and second accused in his capacity as the Director of MFinance and Nghiwilepo the third accused.
They entered not guilty pleas to 10 charges of fraud and corruption at a plea hearing in 2015.
The State alleges between January 25, 2010 and February18, 2010, five cheques destined for the account of the Ministry of Finance were intercepted and deposited into Mbok’s company account.
The affected companies and entities in the alleged fraud comprises GS Fainsinger and Associates in the amount of N$121 212.42 for Value Added Tax, The Ministry of Health and Social Services / Global Fund in the amount of N$228 494.61 for employees tax.
Another cheque for employees tax for the amount of N$62 905.13 allegedly made it into the coffers of MFinance, this time from Edu-Loan (now Letshego Financial Services Namibia) instead of the Ministry of Finance.
Kalahari Sands Hotel and Casino was allegedly the fourth victim, when a cheque of N$202 530.08 for employees tax was paid into the account of MFinance at Standard Bank Namibia, account no. 241611377 according to the indictment.
Another alleged victim of the alleged fraud was Afrisam Cement, for the amount of N$3 329 489.40 meant as payment for VAT.
It also alleged the accused wilfully and unlawfully used various disguises under which they deposited the cheques.
It is further alleged by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which was the investigating agency in the alleged fraud and corruption case, that after the deposits were made, N$277 450 was withdrawn, while a further US$14 730 (about N$103 000) was transferred electronically to a company called Strong Technologies for the purchase of Strong Digital Satellite Receivers in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Mbok is currently free on bail while Nghiwilepo is free on a warning.