Suspects in 'ghost teacher' scam to hear trial date next month

01 Jul 2013 08:40
WINDHOEK, 01 JUL (NAMPA) - Eleven of the 12 people arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in connection with an alleged 'ghost teacher' scam at the Ministry of Education in 2011 will hear a date for their trial next month.
The group made another appearance before Windhoek Magistrate Ruth Herunga on Monday morning, when their alleged fraud and corruption case was remanded until 16 August this year for the fixing of the trial date.
Meanwhile, a warrant for the arrest of Akunangondo Nauyala, which was issued earlier by the court, is still in force.
The 30-year-old Nauyala has allegedly disappeared and has been on the run since mid-December 2011, after he was released on bail of N.dollars 15 000.
The 11 accused persons who appeared before court on Monday are Laurentius Dino van Wyk, 38; Anne-Marie Alexandra van Wyk, 32; Rebekka Petrina Uris, 47; Valery Waldro Nanghula, 44; Rachel Joey Jansen, 38; Ester Omagano Ambondo, 30; Doreen Elder Upingisana, 43; Mengistu Nghaamwa, 32; Festus Ladjovale Haitula, 47; Aurelia Beukes, 44 and the 35-year-old Jona Etuna Nekwaya.
The 12 accused persons, including fugitive Nauyala, face multiple charges of corruption and fraud.
According to earlier media reports, the accused persons were granted bail in amounts varying from N.dollars 8 000 to N.dollars 40 000.
Accused Laurentius van Wyk and an official in the Ministry of Education were first arrested and charged at the end of November 2011.
By mid-December 2011, a second accused (Nauyala) was arrested and charged.
The group stands accused of being involved in a scam in which the Ministry of Education was allegedly defrauded when the names of people not employed with the ministry were registered on the ministry's payroll.
These alleged 'ghost teachers' were then paid monthly salaries, which found their way into the pockets of those individuals who were allegedly involved in the scheme.
According to the charge sheet in their case, Laurentius van Wyk faces 37 charges - including seven charges in terms of the Anti-Corruption Act - and 30 counts of fraud.
Fugitive Nauyala has been charged with one count of corruptly using his office or position for gratification, and 17 counts of fraud.
It is alleged that he received a salary as a 'ghost teacher', with N.dollars 347 826 allegedly paid out to him.
Ministry of Education official Anne-Marie Alexandra van Wyk is charged with 15 counts of fraud and one count of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, while Uris is charged with three counts of corruptly using his office or position for gratification and 15 counts of fraud.
Nanghula faces 12 charges of fraud and two counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification.
These three accused persons were each granted bail of N.dollars 40 000.
Accused Mengistu Nghaamwa is alleged to have received fraudulent salary payments totalling N.dollars 181 049 from the Education Ministry.
Nghaamwa was also granted bail of N.dollars 40 000.
Haitula is charged with one count of corruptly using his office or position for gratification.
He was granted bail of N.dollars 15 000.
Accused Jansen, Ambondo, Upingisana, Beukes and Nekwaya are all charged with one count of fraud.
They were also all granted bail of N.dollars 8 000 each.
All the accused persons will face charges along with key suspects Laurentius van Wyk and fugitive Nauyala in the Windhoek Regional Court on a date to be announced on 16 August this year.
Local defence lawyers Jan Wessels, Milton Engelbecht, Loide Shikale and Henrico von Wielligh are representing 11 of the accused persons.
The bail of the 11 accused persons were also this morning extended until their next court appearance on 16 August this year.