AfriSam suspects make second appearance in High Court

18 Jul 2013 09:00
WINDHOEK, 18 JUL (NAMPA) - The case of six people arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for alleged fraud involving over N.dollars 71 million some two years ago, has been postponed to September this year.
The suspects made their second appearance on Thursday morning in the Windhoek High Court before High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb during a pre-trial conference.
The matter was postponed to 19 September in order to allow the defence team to properly study all documentation provided to them by the State over the past few weeks.
Come September this year, the accused persons will be informed about the date when their trial proper begins in the High Court.
The abovementioned date was agreed upon by State representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondedze and the six accused persons' defence lawyers Jan Wessels, Sarel Maritz, Bradley Basson, Advocate Louis Botes and James Diedericks.
The group includes key suspect and former AfriSam cement company employee Esmerelda Majiedt, 45.
The other five suspects are Rundu businessman Daniel Batista de Jesus, 36; Calvin Bezuidenhoudt, 49; the latter's brother Gerhard Bezuidenhoudt, 40; Majiedt's sister Louise Izaaks, 49; as well as a former partner of Izaaks', James Wilson, 55.
The group, arrested in 2011 and 2012, will altogether face a total of 630 charges of fraud, theft and corruption, according to a decision taken by the Office of Prosecutor-General Martha Ekandjo-Imalwa.
Their case will be dealt with as per the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act (Act No.8 of 2003), as well as in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Act No. 29 of 2004).
The other five accused persons were arrested and charged a week after Majiedt had been granted bail in an amount of N.dollars 250 000 after she spent a year-and-a-half in police custody.
They were added as accused persons in the case in which Majiedt was initially charged alone when they made their first court appearance before Windhoek Magistrate Ingrid Lerato Unengu on 22 October 2012.
On that date, De Jesus was granted bail of N.dollars 1 million, while the other four accused persons were granted bail of N.dollars 100 000 each.
The Namibian newspaper reported earlier this year that the five accused persons were also told that they had to surrender their passports and any other travelling documents to an investigating officer from the ACC, and that they may not communicate or interfere with any of the witnesses in their case.
De Jesus and the Bezuidenhoudt brothers have to report to the police at Rundu every Monday and Friday, while Izaaks and Wilson have to report to the investigating officer at the ACC in the capital every Monday.
In the matter, it is alleged that key accused Majiedt received various payments in her personal capacity from customers of cement manufacturer AfriSam Cement while she was employed by the company.
During the hearing of Majiedt's bail application in June 2011, it was alleged that suspect deliveries involving cement worth more than N.dollars 71 million had been made to AfriSam customers, without payment for such deliveries being reflected on the company's books.
However, Majiedt had claimed that other employees of the company knew her computer password, and could have been responsible for the manipulation of AfriSam's accounting system, which she is being accused of.
She was arrested by ACC investigators in April 2011 on allegations she was involved in corruption, theft and fraud at the company between 2007 and February 2011.
Majiedt's alleged fraudulent actions are said to have caused the cement supply firm a loss of N.dollars 71 321 647 over a period of five years.
The bail of the six accused persons was also on Thursday extended until their next court appearance on 19 September this year.