Amushelelo insists on senior counsel

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Amushelelo insists on senior counsel

Accused Ponzi scheme operators Michael Amushelelo and Gregory Cloete insist they need senior counsel (advocate) to represent them in their upcoming fraud trial in the Windhoek High Court, paid for by the Department of Legal Aid in the Ministry of Justice.

Their lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, told High Court Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula, who will preside over the trial, that the duo exhausted their funds with the bail application for Amushelelo, who is currently in custody on a different matter. He said they had applied to Legal Aid, and while they received acknowledgment letters, they had not received any firm decision one way or the other as yet. As such, they applied to the court to once again postpone the matter to give Legal Aid an opportunity to make a decision. The judge granted their request, and postponed the matter to 29 September, but warned that it will be the final postponement for Legal Aid.  

A Legal Aid representative told the court that Amushelelo and Cloete would have to write a detailed letter amplifying the reasons why they think they will need an advocate above the services of Amoomo.

 Amushelelo and Cloete face more than 330 counts of contravening the Banking Act and conducting a Ponzi scheme. 

Also charged are legal entities Amushe Hello Investment, Amushe Advertising & Design, Amushe International Holding, Van der Walt Trailer Manufacturing, Amushelelo Family Trust T187/2019 and Global Growth Investment Namibia – all represented by Amushelelo as founder and sole member.

The charges are 348 counts of fraud, alternatively theft by pretences, conducting banking business without authorisation and conducting a Ponzi scheme, tax evasion, tax fraud, failure to pay tax, money laundering and racketeering. 

All in all, the accused face 365 counts.

According to the charge-sheet, Amushelelo and Cloete worked in a partnership, collaboration and/or in collusion with one another in a fraudulent enterprise, formulated and operated as a Ponzi scheme.

It is further alleged the two accused aided each other in the execution and management of the ‘phoney’ forex dealing business, which they conducted through the non-existent company Global Growth Investment Namibia (Pty) Ltd.

They also facilitated the signing of investment agreements with members of the public, whereupon members would invest N$5 000 or more – and in return get a 50% interest after a period of two to four months, the indictment read. 

Alternatively, members of the public could invest N$2 500 for eight months and receive N$12 654.25 at the end.   

Court documents state the pair received N$17 million from members of the public with the intention to conduct banking services. 

 This, according to the prosecution, Amushelelo and his co-accused did without being authorised in terms of the Banking Institutions Act. 

Furthermore, the prosecution is charging that the pair committed offences relating to money laundering.

 Consequently, the authorities seized all properties and vehicles, and froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused. 

 The matter will be prosecuted by Constance Moyo and Basson Lilungwe.