The former chairman of the board of the Road Contractors Company, Otto Shikongo, testified during the past week and yesterday about the decisions that led to the arrest and prosecution of its then CEO Kelly Nghixulifwa and two of his business friends, Anna Ndoroma and Hafeni Nghinamwaami.
Shikongo gave a detailed explanation of what transpired.
According to him, the board gave the management team explicit instructions to come up with a business plan and diversification strategy to turn around the fortunes of the struggling entity.
Part of this was for the management team to look for other sources of revenue apart from its main source of income, which was road rehabilitation.
Shikongo further informed Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg the board was only informed of the B1 City project during a board meeting in early 2005, and that no authorisation was granted to pursue it.
However, during cross-examination, Veikko Alexander, representing Nghixulifwa, wanted to know from the witness whether the management team, under the leadership of Nghixulifwa, was obliged to seek authorisation from the board, as they already had the go-ahead from the previous board, and the turn-around strategy made provision for them to pursue other business opportunities and only inform the board.
Shikongo was at pains to explain that when he and his fellow board members came aboard, they knew nothing about the projects and were dependent on the management team to bring them abreast of the goings-on at the RCC.
He, however, said the board was not happy when they learnt the management team issued guarantees to the tune of N$38 million for the purchase of the B1 City erf and the construction of the project.
Nghixulifwa, Ndoroma and Nghinamwaami pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and contravening the Anti-Corruption Act when the trial, which has been besieged by delays since it is supposed to start in 2016, finally got off the ground in November last year.
At the centre of the matter is a loan of N4.8-million that Nghixulifwa allegedly secured for Ae//Gams Engineering to purchase Erf 10485 along Independence Avenue without declaring his interest in the company.
Nghixulifwa, who resigned after the ambitious supposed construction of B1 City, opposite the Katutura Hospital, went belly-up, is facing 11 charges of fraud and contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, while Ndoroma and Nginamwaami each face four counts.
Nghixulifwa lost a battle in which he wanted the court to squash eight of the charges as unconstitutional.
Judge Liebenberg dismissed his challenge, and he was also unsuccessful with his appeal against Liebenberg’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
The trial further suffered delays with several absences of the accused due to illness.
One of the co-accused, David Imbili, was discharged from the trial after an application to be absolved from the charges because of a lack of evidence.
Silas Kishi-Shikumu is representing Ndoroma, Trevor Brockerhoff is on record for Nginamwaami and Hezekiel Iipinge represents the State.
The case continues, and all accused are on bail.