WINDHOEK – The Windhoek Regional Court has convicted a man on 20 counts of fraud for defrauding a local company of over N$700,000 between November 2013 and July 2016.
The accused, Eliphas Joe Shivute, voluntarily admitted guilt to the charges when his trial started on Wednesday before Magistrate Alexis Diegardt. Because of his admission the court subsequently found him guilty on various charges of fraud.
Shivute faced 20 counts of fraud for fraudulent activities that led to the loss of N$731,735.99 from a local company, Namib Contract Haulage (Pty) Ltd.
According to court documents, as an agent of Namib Contract Haulage, Shivute knowingly transferred money from two bank accounts held at two local banks to Shimager Builder and Renovations CC, a company he solely owns.
Shivute then issued several cheques from Namib Contract Haulage accounts to a number of people who were not employed by the company or did not perform remunerative work. He directed the people to cash the cheques and return the money to him on the pretext that such money will be used to pay drivers’ allowances. He again issued cheques in the name of his own company Shimager Builder and Renovations CC and deposited the money in his own company account.
“The accused knew well that he was not paying anyone and used the money for his own personal gain and thus the accused committed the crime of fraud,” stated the prosecution.
The highest amounts Shivute issued by cheque and electronic transfers were N$55,650 and N$77,000. The cheques issued and money transferred amount to N$731,735.99.
During his plea, Shivute said he was fully aware he was not entitled to the money he took. “At the material time, I knew that I was committing an offence and that I may be punished in a court of law for my actions. I now express my remorse and apologies to both the complainant and community,” Shivute said.
He now faces a fine not exceeding N$500,000 or he could be jailed for a period of not more than 25 years or both.
Shivute will make a return in court on July 20 for a hearing in mitigation of sentence. Defence attorney Marco Schurz appeared for Shivute with Fillemon Nyau prosecuting for the State.