Former Santam manager appealing sentence

30 Sep 2013 06:30
WINDHOEK, 30 SEP (NAMPA) – A former manager of the legal department at Santam Namibia who was in January this year sent to jail for three years for fraud involving over N.dollars 1 million, is appealing her custodial punishment.
The 35-year-old Esmereel Cerelda Homses made another appearance before High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on Monday morning, when she was informed that the application of her planned appeal case against the three-year prison term will be heard in the High Court on 28 November this year.
The date for the hearing of the appeal application was agreed upon by the prosecution representative, State Advocate Ed Marondedze and Homses' defence lawyer Sisa Namandje before court today.
In the application, Homses is appealing against both the conviction and the sentence she received for 12 counts of fraud and theft by pretence involving N.dollars 1,15 million, as she feels there was some “misdirection” by the court when it imposed the three-year prison term on 28 January 2013.
She was initially charged with 29 counts of fraud, but was only found guilty and sentenced on 12 counts.
Homses was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, of which three years were suspended for a period of three years on condition that she is not convicted of fraud or theft during the period of suspension.
All the 12 counts were considered as one for the purpose of sentencing.
Judge Siboleka said at the time of sentencing that the crimes of dishonesty and theft against employers are very serious offences, and these crimes were committed out of greed and self-enrichment, and in his view, a prison term will be an appropriate punishment in this case.
Evidence presented before court during the trial indicated that the crime was committed between 01 June 2005 and 31 January 2008 when Homses defrauded Santam by authorising payments in the total amount of N.dollars 1,15 million in favour of fictitious claimants.
She also used the names of people who had not filed any claims against Santam Insurance, while in some instances, she asked people if she could make use of their bank accounts to make payments.
Homses is a first-time offender.
She successfully completed a degree in law at the University of Namibia, and has an eight-year-old child.
She was married to an Angolan national, who deserted her shortly after they got married.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Namandje, who represented Homses during trial, will again appear on her behalf in the planned appeal hearing on 28 November.
State Advocate Marondedze will also again appear for the prosecution during the hearing of the appeal application.