Namibian arrested for tax refund scam loses lawyer

30 Oct 2018 13:00pm
WINDHOEK, 30 OCT(NAMPA) - Noah Naukosho, arrested in December 2015 in connection with a value added tax (VAT) fraud scam involving N.dollars 210 million, has been left without legal representation following the withdrawal of his State-funded defence lawyer Bradley Basson.
Naukosho is one of the two Namibians arrested alongside a group of 14 Angolan nationals in connection with the scam.
Basson represented him on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid and withdrew from the case on Tuesday because of commitments at his Windhoek-based law firm.
Naukosho told Deputy High Court Judge-President Hosea Angula on Tuesday he will now defend himself during future court proceedings and when the trial proper begins on 21 January next year after he refused to apply for another government-sponsored legal representation.
The two Namibians in the matter are Naukosho and Mamsy Nuuyoma, while the 14 Angolan nationals are Lukau Nestor, Joaquim Espanhol, Benvindo Momafuba, Pembele Zimutu, Paulo Kiala, Joao dos Santos, Tatiana Gonga, Carlos Eliseu, Isaac Cupessala, Paquete Jose, Malakias Rufine, Carlos Tchinduku, Miapa Nelson and Lucio Cazembe.
The accused were arrested by investigators attached to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at the end of December 2015 for allegedly defrauding Government of N.dollars 210 million through the Ministry of Finance over a few years.
The arrests followed investigations by the ACC between January 2014 and December 2015 at the request of the ministry into cases where VAT receipts were forged in order to claim refunds from the Receiver of Revenue.
The accused are charged with 512 counts of fraud, conspiring to commit fraud, forgery and uttering, a count of corruptly using false documents and a charge of corruptly giving a false document to an agent of the company, Aveshe Consultancy, which manages VAT refunds on behalf of the finance ministry.
They are being represented by local defence lawyers Kadhila Amoomo, Kalundu Kamwi, Trevor Brockerhoff, George Neves, Hipura Ujaha and Appollos Shimakeleni.
All the accused - except Nuuyoma, Nestor, Momafuba, Zimutu, Gonga, Cazembe, Cupessala and Naukosho - are in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.
Accused Kiala is still at large following his disappearance during 2017, and a warrant for his arrest is also still in force.