Teko trio fraud suspects ask for judge's recusal

14 Aug 2014 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 14 AUG (NAMPA) – Three people being tried for alleged fraud committed in 2009 at the Ministry of Finance involving some N.dollars 120 million, want presiding judge Maphios Cheda to recuse himself.
The three are Namibians Teckla Lameck, 48, and Jerobeam Mokaxwa, 30, as well as Chinese national Yang Fan, 39.
An urgent application by the trio was brought before the judge himself by Windhoek-based defence lawyer, Senior Counsel (SC) Raymond Heathcote on Thursday morning.
In the application, the three suspects raised a number of issues, including the manner in which the presiding judge is allegedly handling the trial, and want the trial to begin afresh.
“We, Teckla Lameck, Jerobeam Mokaxwa and Yang Fan would like High Court Judge Maphios Cheda to recuse himself from presiding over the trial of our alleged fraud case.
We want all the proceedings so far in our case to be stopped and, hereby, quashed. We want this court to issue an order that this trial should begin 'de novo' or afresh before another judge on a date to be determined by the Registrar of the High Court”, reads their application.
Heathcote brought the application on the instructions of Windhoek-based law firm of Sisa Namandje legal practitioners.
The application follows after the three accused persons' defence lawyers Namandje, Advocate Gerson Hinda (SC) and Gerson Narib found out that the State intends to lead evidence which had been obtained from their clients, pursuant to certain search and seizure warrants and pursuant to certain summonses, which in their view are null and void and render the evidence obtained pursuant to such warrants inadmissible before court.
“The issue of the legality of the search warrants is thus central and crucial to the three applicants' defence, and can never be decided upon without a full and proper hearing on the issue”, reads the application.
In response, State Advocate Jack Eixab told the court that the State will oppose this application.
The matter was then postponed to Wednesday next week for the hearing of arguments.
Today's postponement was done as per agreement reached between the legal representatives of the two parties.
Eixab also agreed to file the State's replying affidavits with the Registrar of the Windhoek High Court on Monday next week before the close of business.
In the alleged trial proper, Lameck, a former Public Service Commission (PSC) member; Mokaxwa, who is Lameck’s business partner in the Teko Trading company; as well as Yang are accused of having defrauded the Ministry of Finance of some N.dollars 120 million in 2009 in dubious circumstances.
They have each already denied all allegations set out in the 18 charges of fraud against them when they entered not-guilty pleas at the beginning of their trial in April last year.
They have also each handed in a detailed statement containing explanations of their pleas.
The two Namibians are free on bail of N.dollars 50 000 each, while Yang is free on bail of N.dollars 1 million.
The three accused persons were arrested on 08 and 09 July 2009 by officials of the Anti-Corruption Commission in connection with the alleged scam, through which the Ministry of Finance bought security-scanning equipment from a Chinese company.
Chief Public Prosecutor Danie Small and Eixab, being assisted by prominent Windhoek-based attorney Jan Wessels, are appearing for the State.