Absent lawyer forced fraud trial postponement

16 Aug 2016 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 16 AUG (NAMPA) - The absence of a State-funded defence lawyer on Tuesday forced the postponement of the continuation of the trial of six persons arrested in 2007 for allegedly defrauding Alexander Forbes of over N.dollars 3 million.
The continuation of the alleged fraud trial was postponed until 11 October 2016, as government-sponsored defence lawyer, Titus Mbaeva, was not present.
The office of the Prosecutor-General was also not informed in advance about the non-availability of the defence lawyer.
High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo, who is presiding over the trial, issued an order instructing Mbaeva to come and explain the reasons for his absence from Tuesday's court proceeding before or on 11 October 2016.
The alleged fraud suspects are: Sharon Desiree Raman, 44; Hendrick Francisco Davis (age not given); Jan Johannes Jansen, 47; Jeremia Metaatu, 41; Iyambo Severen, 35; and 42-year-old Alta Norman Visser.
The group has denied any involvement in the alleged fraud scam when they each entered a plea of 'not guilty' at the start of their trial on 28 November 2011.
Each of the six accused persons also at that time handed in a written statement containing a plea of 'not guilty' and completely distanced themselves from having taken part in the alleged fraud scam that led Namibia's biggest independent pension fund administrator to losing the millions.
According to evidence contained in the indictment, the six accused persons are facing about 165 main charges of fraud and various alternative charges in that they had allegedly defrauded Alexander Forbes of about N.dollars 3.3 million between 2005 and 2007.
The accused persons are free on bail of between N.dollars 5 000, N.dollars 10 000 and N.dollars 25 000.
State-sponsored defence lawyers Jan Wessels, Johan van Vuuren, Werner Boesak and Mbaeva, are appearing for the accused persons on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
The accused were all arrested in 2007 by a combined team of City Police and members of the Namibian Police's Serious Crime Unit.