Avid/SSC accused Shiweda gets new defence lawyer

07 Jul 2014 13:30pm
WINDHOEK, 07 JUL (NAMPA) - Retired Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Brigadier Mathias Shiweda now has a new lawyer to defend him in the ongoing Avid Investment court case.
Shiweda is one of seven people on trial in the High Court here in connection with the missing N.dollars 30 million that the little-known Avid Investment Asset Management Company allegedly obtained from the Social Security Commission (SSC) through dubious circumstances in 2005.
Shiweda is now being represented by prominent Windhoek-based defence lawyer, attorney Jan Wessels.
Wessels confirmed his representation of accused Shiweda when the continuation of the alleged fraud and corruption trial resumed before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg here on Monday morning.
Shiweda was earlier represented by Advocate Richard Metcalfe, who recused himself from the trial on 12 June this year as there was a conflict of interest, because he (Metcalfe) had represented State witness and former SSC General Manager of Finance and Administration, Avril Green during a disciplinary hearing linked to the Avid scandal (matter) some eight years ago.
Green began giving his evidence-in-chief this morning by telling the court that he knew, and had met with five of the seven accused persons in the capital during January 2005.
According to Green, he met with accused one and former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Paulus Iilonga Kapia at the Swapo head office in Katutura on 04 January 2005.
Green said he met Kapia through the assistance of Kapia's co-accused, former Acting Secretary-General of the National Youth Council (NYC) Ralph Blaauw.
The court heard that the former NYC leader was the person who introduced his wife and co-accused, Sharon Blaauw to Green on 03 January 2005.
“I (Avril Green) met with both Avid Investment's Administrative Secretary, Inez //Gases and retired NDF Brigadier, Mathias Shiweda at the Social Security Commission's head office in Windhoek during a business presentation by Avid Investment on 04 January 2005,” testified Green.
He told the court that he neither knows Windhoek-based businessman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namangol Asset Management Company, Nicolaas Josea nor Labour Ministry official and lawyer, Otniel Podewiltz.
Green said he met the two men for the first time in court on Monday.
In the matter, all seven people on trial in connection with the missing N.dollars 30 million have denied any involvement or knowledge of the missing money when the trial kicked off on 27 May this year.
The seven former Avid Investment directors denied the allegations when they each pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of fraud, alternatively theft; corruption; and giving false evidence in an inquiry in terms of the Companies' Act at the start of their trial.
The seven persons, in explaining their pleas, all denied the allegations contained in the charge-sheet, and each challenged the State to prove otherwise.
The State alleges that the seven suspects were all directors in the little-known Avid Investment Asset Management Company, which allegedly obtained money from the SSC through its links to the ruling Swapo-Party.
In 2005, Avid Investment made headlines when it allegedly acquired N.dollars 30 million from the SSC, allegedly under dubious circumstances.
The money was then apparently invested in an offshore company, but it could later not be accounted for.
The disappearance of the money led to a High Court inquiry before acting Judge Raymond Heathcote in 2005.
Avid Investment CEO, the late Lazarus Kandara, who was believed to be the kingpin in the Avid/SCC saga, was said to have committed suicide while under police escort in front of the Windhoek Police Station during the inquiry.
All suspects are free on bail of N.dollars 10 000 each, and their bail was also extended until their next court appearance on Tuesday.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondedze assisted by State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi are appearing for the State.
Defence lawyers Sisa Namandje, Christie Mostert, Werner Boesak and Slysken Makando are defending the six other accused persons.
The trial continues on Tuesday.