Avid/SSC fraud case back in High Court

01 Jun 2015 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 01 JUN (NAMPA) - The trial of seven people arrested in April 2008 in connection with the N.dollars 30 million Avid Investment and Social Security Commission (SSC) fraud scandal, resumed in the High Court here on Monday.
The trial recommenced with former Deputy Sheriff of the City of Windhoek, De Wet Esterhuizen giving his evidence on the matter.
Esterhuizen was extensively questioned by the accused persons' defence lawyers about a statement he gave under oath to members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on 10 November 2006 in connection with the case.
After Esterhuizen's brief testimony before court, the case was postponed until Tuesday at 10h00 for the continuation of the trial.
Monday's postponement was as a result of a joint agreement reached by the seven accused persons' defence lawyers and the prosecution's representative, State Advocate Ed Marondedze.
The seven suspects were all directors in the little-known Avid Investment Asset Management Company, which had some links to the ruling Swapo-Party.
The accused persons were all present in court on Monday.
They are Windhoek businessman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namangol Asset Management Company, Nico Jose; former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication and Swapo politician Paulus Kapia; Avid Investment's Administrative Secretary Inez //Gases; former Acting Secretary-General of the National Youth Council (NYC), Ralph Blaauw; and his wife, Sharon Blaauw; Labour Ministry official and lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, as well as retired Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Brigadier, Mathias Shiweda.
These former Avid Investment directors are each separately charged with about 10 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, corruption and giving false evidence in an inquiry in terms of the CompaniesÂ’ Act No 28 of 2004.
In 2005, the little-known Avid Investment Asset management company made headlines when it allegedly acquired N.dollars 30 million from the SSC under dubious circumstances.
The money was then invested in an offshore company but it could later not be accounted for.
The disappearance of the money led to a High Court inquiry before Acting Judge Raymond Heathcote in 2005.
Avid Investment's CEO Lazarus Kandara, who was believed to be the kingpin in the Avid/SCC saga, committed suicide while under police escort in front of the Windhoek Police Station during the inquiry.
Local lawyers comprising of Sisa Namandje, Christie Mostert, Werner Boesak, Andre Louw and Slysken Makando are defending the seven accused persons.
State Advocate Marondedze is being assisted by Public Prosecutor Cliff Lutibezi.
All suspects are free on bail of N.dollars 10 000 each, and their bail was extended until Tuesday for the continuation of the trial.