Avid was peniless before SSC venture

Home Crime and Courts Avid was peniless before SSC venture

By Roland Routh

WINDHOEK – Avid Investments, the company entrusted to invest N$30-million for the Social Security Commission (SSC) only had a little more than N$2 000 in its corporate account at FNB when the SSC investment was paid in.

This was said by Martin Inkumbi, who was the Manager Corporate Services at FNB and Avid’s relationship manager.

According to Inkumbi the account was opened by Inez Gases as the Chairperson of the entity on May 24, 2004 with her as the only signatory. However in November of 2004 Gases send a letter to the bank requesting that Lazarus Kandara (late) also be given signatory powers as CEO jointly with Gases as per a board of directors decision.

Inkumbi further told Judge Christie Liebenberg that the bank received an instruction from Kandara on January 21, 2005 to transfer N$30-million into the Bank Windhoek account of Namangol Investments.

He responded to the letter informing Kandara he will comply with the instruction as soon as the money is reflected on Avid’s account. However, Inkumbi told the court, several cheque payments were made on the account prior to the arrival of the N$30-million and he contacted Kandara to inform him that he will not be able to transfer N$30-million as instructed and Kandara then in turn told him to only transfer N$29.5 million supported by a letter on January 28, 2005. The SSC money transfer into Avid’s account was only effected on January 26, 2005, Inkumbi informed the court.

According to bank statements in New Era’s possession, Avid issued three cheques on January 24, two days before the SSC investment arrived.

One cheque was for N$110 907, one for N$12 300 and one for N$8 500 which left them with a deficit of N$116 295.

However, these cheques were declared unpaid items on January 25, 2005 which left Avid with the N$2 600 balance.

As soon as the SSC money was transferred into Avid’s account the cheques were cleared apparently because SCC organised with FNB to backdate the transfer.

This was one of the issues Sisa Namandje, on behalf of Paulus Kapia, had with Inkumbi. He, however, professed ignorance telling the court that he was not in charge of the SCC account and would thus not be in the loop about SCC’s dealings.

Kapia and Gases, lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, Ralph and Sharon Blaauw, retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and Nico Josea are charged with fraud, alternatively theft and other charges related to a repealed companies act in connection with a botched investment deal the SSC made with Avis Investments, a rookie asset management company in January, 2005.