18 Sep 2019 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 18 SEP (NAMPA) The three people arrested in connection with the 2009 fraud scandal in which the Ministry of Finance allegedly bought security scanning equipment from a Chinese company, Nuctech, have been set free.
Namibians Teckla Lameck and Jerobeam Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fan were set free Wednesday morning by presiding High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg after their privately-instructed defence lawyer Sisa Namandje brought a successful application for discharge before court at the end of the trial on 11 September 2019.
They were acquitted and discharged on all 18 main counts of fraud, an alternative count of theft, three charges of contravening the Immigration Control Act 7 of 1993, two charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 29 of 2004 and a charge under the Anti-Corruption Act 8 of 2003.
They were also acquitted on a count of theft by false pretences under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Theft Act 12 of 1999, on which they were initially accused of having conspired to commit these criminal acts.
This comes after the prosecution team, led by State Advocate Dominic Lisulo, could not prove the veracity of these charges beyond reasonable doubt.
In his ruling in respect of the application for discharge, Judge Liebenberg on Wednesday concluded that the totality of the evidence presented before court during trial did not show that the three accused were indeed involved in the alleged fraud of about N.dollars 120 million.
According to the judge, they were wrongly charged and the prosecution team had used wrong sections of the Immigration Act when they lay charges against them.
In the result, the application for discharge is successful. I am satisfied that the three accused persons should not be put on their defence. The accused are, therefore, acquitted and discharged on all the charges they are facing, said Liebenberg.
Meanwhile, the three persons upon enquiry by Nampa in respect of the acquittal would not say much, apart from saying they were happy that finally, justice has been done.
The successful application for discharge was brought before court in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977, the provisions that deal with acquittals in courts in Namibia.
Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang also denied any wrongdoing when they entered not guilty pleas at the start of the trial in 2017.
The State alleged that they defrauded the Namibian Government, the ministry or its permanent secretary of about N.dollars 120 million between 01 October 2006 and 17 March 2009 by creating the impression that co-accused Yang was only representing Chinese security scanning equipment manufacturer, Nuctech Company in the negotiation and finalisation of an agreement between the ministry and Nuctech.
Yang also represented Teko Trading, a close corporation of Lameck and Mokaxwa.
The trio had allegedly inflated the purchasing price of the security scanning equipment so that commission payments could be made to Teko Trading, and allegedly shared the money.
They were arrested in July 2009.
The Namibians were free on bail of N.dollars 50 000 each and Yang was free on bail of N.dollars 1 million. Their bail money will be returned.