26 Mar 2016 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 26 MAR (NAMPA) - One of the three people on trial in the High Court in connection with fraud and other charges surrounding the B1 City property development project, has been left without legal representation.
This came about after accused Hafeni Nghinamwaamis privately-instructed defence lawyer Lourens Campher decided to go back to the public service sector.
Campher, a former senior public prosecutor in the Windhoek High Court for many years, is reported to have returned to the prosecuting authority after he secured a senior position in the High Court based in Oshakati in Oshana Region.
The 48-year-old Nghinamwaami confirmed Campher's departure as his legal representative when he made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg during a pre-trial conference of case management review on Thursday.
As a result of this development, Nghinamwaami's case was remanded until 11 May this year in order to enable the accused to make arrangements for a new defence lawyer to represent him during future court proceedings and when the trial proper begins.
Nghinamwaami is charged in the trial alongside former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) Kelly Nghixulifwa, 56; and the 51-year-old Anna Ndoroma.
A fourth person, local businessman David Imbili, who was initially charged in the same case, was set free on Wednesday after the Office of the Prosecutor-General (OPG) decided not to proceed with its prosecution on the fraud charges against him.
The three remaining accused persons face a total of eight main charges including corruption, fraud, theft, and money laundering.
Four of the eight charges stem from the Roads Contractor Company (RCC)s involvement in the B1 City property development project during 2005 and 2006.
Other charges relate to Nghixulifwas tenure as the RCC CEO, which came to an end with his resignation at the end of 2006 after he had been suspended from that position.
The OPG decided to indict Ndoroma; Nghixulifwa and Nghinamwaami on the main charges of corruptly using an office or position for gratification, fraud, failing to disclose an interest in a contract, and money laundering.
It is alleged that Nghixulifwa was a shareholder in both /Ae //Gams Engineering and Cradle Investments, but apparently concealed his stake in the two companies by having his shares held in Ndoromas name.
It is further alleged that Nghixulifwa failed to disclose his interests in the two companies to the RCC Board of Directors.
The RCC Board was allegedly kept in the dark about Nghixulifwas stake in /Ae //Gams Engineering, in which Nghinamwaami was also a shareholder.
It is also alleged that Nghixulifwa in February 2005 signed an agreement in terms of which the RCC and /Ae //Gams Engineering were to undertake the B1 City shopping complex and taxi rank development as a joint venture.
Nghixulifwa thus seemingly corruptly used his position at the RCC to buy the land where the B1 City development was to take place on behalf of /Ae //Gams Engineering with RCC funds and a credit facility to the amount of N.dollars 4,87 million.
He allegedly also defrauded the RCC by bringing managers at the parastatal and the chairperson of the RCC board under the impression that a mortgage bond of N.dollars 4,87 million had been registered under the B1 City property in the RCCs favour, when in fact that had not been done.
It is also claimed in the indictment that while still employed as RCC CEO, Nghixulifwa defrauded the RCC and a construction company, Murray and Roberts, in December 2004 by concealing his shareholding in Cradle Investments, and inducing the RCC and Murray and Roberts to pay a facilitation fee of N.dollars 150 000 to Cradle Investments and Nghinamwaami for the role they supposedly played in the construction of a new head office for the parastatal.
In fact, Nghinamwaami and Cradle Investments had not been appointed as project facilitators, and were not entitled to receive such a fee.
It is also suspected Nghixulifwa used his position in the parastatal during April 2006 to have debt of N.dollars 29 954 of Cradle Investments settled with a firm of auditors with RCC funds.
In another charge, it is alleged that Nghixulifwa corruptly used his position as RCC CEO in March 2006 to have a payment of N.dollars 92 729 made with RCC funds on the home loan account of an RCC employee, Brian Nalisa, which was allegedly in arrears.
Defence lawyers, Advocate Louis Botes and Silas Kishi-Shakumu are representing the three accused persons.
The accused are all free on bail of N.dollars 60 000 each.
State Advocate Jack Eixab is appearing for the prosecution.