02 Sep 2016 09:30am
OTJIWARONGO, 02 SEP (NAMPA) - The 15 health officials linked to fraud involving N.dollars 8.2 million at the Ministry of Health and Social Services in the Otjozondjupa Region, on Thursday secured bail.
The accused appeared before Otjiwarongo Regional Court Magistrate, Marilize du Plessis on Thursday afternoon.
The 15 accused officials are Lucresia Matsuis, Namboa Jenneveva, Dr Esther Namwandi, Andrew Neidel, Frieda Fillemon, Engine Sawas, Josephine Lifumbela, Berreldine Narib, Christine Ndeutapo, Laurentia Narubes, Temos Mutewa, Sana Dauses, Magdalena Horases, Victoria Hases and Selma Hindulua.
Du Plessis granted them bail ranging between N.dollars 10 000 and N.dollars 40 000, and ordered them to return to court on 13 October 2016 for trial continuation.
Control Public Prosecutor, Lewis Chigunwe represented the State in the matter.
Chigunwe said his office had agreed on Thursday with the privately hired lawyers representing the suspects to grant them bail with no conditions attached.
The suspects were arrested Wednesday morning after the Namibian Police serious crime unit completed intensive investigations in a fraud case that was opened in May 2014 by the office of the Otjozondjupa regional health director.
The suspects include nurses, cleaners, ambulance drivers, accountants and a State dentist.
They are aged between 41 and 59.
According to acting Otjozondjupa Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner Gerhard Uataurua Mavenjono, most of the suspects are long-serving staff members of the Ministry of Health and Social Services in the Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja health districts.
It is alleged that the suspects on numerous occasions submitted false travel and overtime claims for trips they never took.
These claims were processed successfully and money paid into their bank accounts.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that some suspects deposited money into the bank accounts of the two accountants based at the regional office at Otjiwarongo.
The syndicate is suspected to have operated between June 2006 and January 2014.
In February 2014, the two accountants were relocated from their offices at the Otjozondjupa health regional office to the Otjiwarongo District Hospital, where they are temporarily operating from.
The relocation was meant to allow for investigations into the fraud suspicions.