April 16, 2015, 8:09am
WINDHOEK – Issues surrounding certain recordings made by Veronika Kituna Thomas, who already pleaded guilty on five counts of corruptly using her office at the Ministry of Finance, halted the protrated trial of Antoine ‘Tony’ Mbok, 38, in its tracks.
She allegedly made recordings of her conversations with Daniel David Nghiwilepo, 40.
Nghiwilepo’s defence consisting of Senior Counsel Louis Botes assisted by Boris “The Mouth” Isaacks informed the court they need a substantial amount of time to study the recordings and transcripts and to possibly involve an expert to authenticate the contentious tapes.
It seems the recordings could be very crucial one way or the other.
Judge Nate Ndauendapo granted the defence its wish and postponed the matter to January 18 next year for the continuation of trial.
While it is not official , it appears the defence will object to the recordings being admitted as evidence which could yet again prolong the trial that started in 2012 when Thomas pleaded guilty and her trial was separated from that of Mbok and Nghiwilepo, 40.
She was sentenced to an effective eight years in prison by Judge Alfred Siboleka in 2012.
Mbok in his own right and on behalf of his corporation Mfinance, and Namibian national Nghiwilepo have pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of corruption and money laundering involving N$3.9 million.
A summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet allege the two men in cahoots with Thomas, allegedly defrauded several Namibian businesses and government agencies of up to N$3.9 million in valued-added tax (VAT) and returns for import VAT.
The State alleges between January, 25, 2010 and February, 18, 2010, five cheques destined for the account of the Ministry of Finance were intercepted and deposited into Mbok’s company account.
The affected companies and entities in the alleged fraud are GS Fainsinger and Associates in the amount of N$121 212.42 for VAT, and the Ministry of Health and Social Services/Global Fund in the amount of N$228 494.61 for employees tax.
Another cheque for employees tax for the amount of N$62 905.13 allegedly made its way into the coffers of MFinance, this time from Edu-Loan (now Letshego Financial Services Namibia) instead of the Ministry of Finance.
Kalahari Sands Hotel and Casino was allegedly the fourth victim when a cheque for N$202 530.08 for employees tax was paid into the account of MFinance at Standard Bank Namibia, account no. 241611377 according to the indictment.
Another alleged victim of the alleged fraud was Afrisam Cement – which was also allegedly defrauded of a massive N$71 million by Esmerelda Madjiedt – in the amount of N$3 329 489.40 meant as payment for VAT.