Three in court over N$2 million fraud

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Roland Routh

WINDHOEK – The former marketing manager of MultiChoice Namibia, Manga Nawa-Mukena, 37, her husband Joseph Mukena, 43, and a friend of theirs Celestino Gabriel Antonio, 37, made a first pre-trial appearance in the Windhoek High Court last week before Judge Christi Liebenberg on charges of fraud.

The charges of fraud, alternatively theft, money laundering, forgery and uttering of a forged document, contravening the Organised Crime Act, obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice and contravening the Value Added Tax Act, emanate from the N$2 million embezzled from MultiChoice.

Their defence lawyers, Orben Sibeya for the Mukenas and Mbanga Siyomunji for Antonio confirmed to the court they received disclosure from the State, and the case was then remanded to July 19 for another pre-trial hearing.
The couple together face 85 counts of fraud alternatively theft, the wife alone 84 counts of forgery and uttering a forged document, all three accused another count of forgery and uttering a forged document, the Mukenas one count of contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, all three one count of money laundering, all three accused one count of obstructing or defeating the course of justice or attempting to do so, while Manga alone faces one count of contravening the Value Added Tax Act.

The fraudulent scheme ran from April 2013 to March 2017, according to the State.
The indictment says the Mukenas were at all relevant and material times married in community of property and Antonio a close friend of the couple.

Also, during the relevant times, Manga was employed by MultiChoice Namibia (MCN) as marketing manager responsible for the effective management of the marketing, advertising and promotional activities of the television company. Being the sales and marketing manager, she was responsible for the placements of advertisements of MCN’s current and new product concepts in newspapers and other media establishments as well as approving and or submitting all supplier invoices to MCN for processing and payment, the indictment reads.

It further states Manga had taken advantage of the situation and initiated a fraudulent scheme wherein she would draw up falsified supplier tax invoices reflecting the name of the Kundana weekly newspaper published by New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) for advertisements purportedly placed in the Oshiwambo language weekly. She then supplied her own FNB account number on the falsified tax invoices and the amounts would be paid into that account, it is alleged.

After the money was paid into her bank account, she would make transfers from that account to her other FNB accounts and to the bank accounts of her husband and they would make withdrawals at various ATMs and or make electronic fund transfers from the bank accounts.

It is further stated in the indictment that the Mukenas would also make various purchases at various Point of Sale terminals, both in Namibia and South Africa, and would conduct cellphone banking transfers between themselves, their friends and relatives.

It is further alleged that after the arrest of Manga, she and her husband approached Antonio for him to misrepresent to MCN that he owned a company called KundanaNam (Pty) Ltd, which had rendered the marketing services in question, and that all the payments were made to the said KundanaNam.

Thereafter Antonio approached MCN and misrepresented to them that he is the owner of the unregistered company KundanaNam and as the company did not have a bank account, he requested Manga to avail her personal bank account to him for the purpose of receiving payments for the services he rendered to MCN.
It is further alleged she would withdraw the money and hand it to Antonio.

The State says MultiChoice Namibia suffered a loss of N$2,088, 071 as a result of the alleged fraudulent and money laundering scheme perpetrated by the three accused.
All three accused are out on bail.

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