Podewiltz testifies in Avid/SSC scandal

07 Feb 2017 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 07 FEB (NAMPA) - A Labour Ministry official and lawyer implicated in the Social Security Commission (SSC) fraud case, said he joined Avid Investment Asset Management on request by a co-accused.
Otniel Podewiltz told Windhoek High Court Judge, Christie Liebenberg on Tuesday in his defence that he received a nomination letter on 26 April 2004 from Inez //Gases, requesting him to serve as a member of the Avid Board of Directors.
“I had accepted the offer as requested by Inez //Gases and after two months, I met with other Avid Board directors such as Paulus Kapia, Ralph Blaauw and Mathias Shiweda at Kapia's office at the Swapo-party head office in Katutura.”
//Gases, accused number two in the N.dollars 30 million fraud case, was the former administrative secretary of the little-known and now defunct Avid Investment Asset Management company linked to Swapo.
Podewiltz said during this meeting, they were officially briefed about Avid’s business model and the company's general operations.
He said the meeting discussed matters on how the Board will be soliciting money for investment from both foreign and local business entities.
Podewiltz further told the court that he resigned from that position at the end of November 2004 after former Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila requested him to be the chairperson of Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority Board of Appeals for three years.
This, he said, ended his involvement with Avid and its operations.
“I had no further contacts with the people dealing with Avid,” said Podewiltz, who is to continue with his defence on Wednesday.
Others implicated in the fraud case are Kapia, the former deputy minister of Works, Transport and Communication and Swapo politician; Blaauw, who is the former acting Secretary-General of National Youth Council; Shiweda, a retired Namibian Defence Force Brigadier; Blaauw’s wife Sharon Blaauw; and Windhoek businessman and Chief Executive Officer of Namangol Asset Management Company, Nico Josia.
They were arrested in 2008 in respect of the missing N.dollars 30 million that was invested between the SSC and Avid in 2005.
The accused are out on N.dollars 10 000 bail each.
Advocate Ed Marondedze, assisted by Cliff Lutibezi, represent the State.
Defence lawyers Petrie Theron, Sisa Namandje, Kasper Gilroy, George Neves, Slysken Makando and Attorney Jan Wessels are representing the accused persons.