Aupindi's swimming pool corruption case sees another delay

20 Jan 2016 16:52pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JAN (NAMPA) - The trial of a former managing director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) and his Italian business partner charged with allegedly lying to an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officer, has been delayed again on Wednesday.
The Ex-NWR boss, Tobie Aupindi, and co-accused, Antonio Di Savino, made another appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on Wednesday morning when their alleged corruption case was delayed until 20 July 2016.
The case was postponed because the parties involved in the matter are still waiting for the High Court to hand down a ruling on Aupindi and Di Savino’s application for the recusal of Windhoek Magistrate Helvi Kauna Shilemba from their trial, which is up to date still pending in the High Court.
It was also placed before court that the complex of the review judgement is reportedly giving High Court Judge Kobus Miller, who is handling the matter, some difficulties in fanalising the ruling on the matter.
As per agreement reached between Public Prosecutor Erastus Hatutale and defence lawyers Garth Joseph and Louis du Pisani, the case was adjourned to allow Miller to give a ruling in respect of the review judgement for the recusal of the above-mentioned magistrate from the two accused businessmen's trial.
On 24 February 2012, the two accused men suffered a heavy blow when the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court dismissed their application for discharge.
At the time, defence lawyers Advocate Richard Metcalfe, who initially represented Aupindi in the matter, and Du Pisani brought an urgent application for the discharge of their clients shortly after Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselmann, who appeared for the prosecution during the hearing of the discharge application, closed the State’s case.
This unsuccessful discharge application was brought before court in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures’ Act.
Metcalfe and Du Pisani wanted the court to discharge their clients on the grounds that thus far, there had been no prima-facie evidence presented before court to indicate that the two men were involved in corruption as the State claims.
Husselmann, however, asked the court to dismiss the discharge application, arguing that the two accused persons should be put on their defences and should testify before court.
Aupindi and his co-accused had already each entered not guilty pleas at the start of their corruption trial on 06 February 2012.
In the main matter, it is alleged that Di Savino had allegedly paid N.dollars 50 000 for a swimming pool which was built at Aupindi’s home in return for tenders for the refurbishment of the parastatal’s resorts.
The two men each pleaded not guilty to a number of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act of 2003, namely a main count of allegedly corruptly providing false information to an authorised officer and a count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
They also pleaded not guilty to the alternative count on the main charge.
The duo entered their pleas of not guilty as per Section 119 of Namibia’s Criminal Procedures Act and as per the instructions of their respective defence lawyers at the time.
Evidence contained in a summary of substantial facts in the charge-sheet have it that the former NWR boss had allegedly provided false information to an investigating officer of the ACC, William Lloyd, by stating that he had paid N.dollars 50 000 in cash to a local company, LIC Pools, for a swimming pool to be installed at his house at 25 Kestrel Street in Hochland Park.
The allegation against Aupindi is that he did not pay for the swimming pool himself and that Di Savino in fact paid for the pool as a kickback in exchange for tile tenders awarded to his co-accused for work done at NWR resorts.
Di Savino, like Aupindi, faces charges of providing false information to an ACC investigator and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The former NWR chief left the parastatal at the end of December 2010, four months before his contract was due to expire.
Aupindi and Di Savino are each free on a warning and such warning was again extended until their court appearance on 20 July this year.