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More details emerge in N$10m swindler cop case

2023-07-17  Roland Routh

More details emerge in N$10m swindler cop case

Two complainants in the trial of a former police officer who allegedly defrauded three companies within the space of one year, testified last week about their ordeal.

Ricardo Nghilifavali Nestor is facing charges of fraud, alternatively theft, money laundering, forgery and uttering. The cop in question studied IT. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The matter was previously postponed after Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen, who was supposed to adjudicate the matter, was reassigned to the civil stream. Judge Philanda Christiaan is now presiding.

It is alleged by the State that Nestor used the skills he acquired through his studies to swindle Namibia Marble and Granite (NAMAGRA) near Karibib and/or Carmen Bianca Wittreich out of N$10 million. 

He allegedly hacked the internet banking profile of NAMAGRA, and authorised the payment of N$10 million from the company’s call account to its business account. 

From there, he allegedly made payments of N$5.52 million as follows: N$4 million to Altcoin Trader, N$500 000 to Sanele Nkosi, N$500 000 to Lethuvuyo Trading and Projects, 16 x N$20 000 salary payments, and 39 e-wallet payments to the tune of N$195 000.

This allegedly happened on 11 August 2018.

It is further alleged that upon or about 11 and 12 September 2018, Nestor logged into the internet banking account of Spot-On Discount Liquor, and made a once-off payment of N$55 481.91 in favour of a trader account held in South Africa. 

A charge that he also hacked the internet banking account of SR van Wyk or Meransha Properties during the same period, and transferred N$34 500 to a Bank Windhoek account held by Spot-On Discount Liquor, was withdrawn after it emerged that it was a legitimate transaction. 

The indictment further reads that he hacked into the account of Spot-On Discount Liquor, and made payments of N$62 000 to employees of Spot-On Discount Liquor. 

On Tuesday, Lizane van Wyk testified that on the morning of 12 September, she opened their internet banking page, and discovered that N$62 000 from the Bank Windhoek account was paid into the accounts of their 11 employees. As neither she nor any of the other people with access to the accounts authorised these payments, they flagged it as suspicious, and informed the bank. Fortunately, she said, the bank managed to reverse the transaction. 

However, Van Wyk said they were not so lucky with a transaction of N$55 481.91 that was transferred to a South African bank account from their FNB internet account on the same day.   

The State charges that the accused also pretended to Taiyo Namibia that the bank account number of Walcon Construction changed from Bank Windhoek to Standard Bank, and that Taiyo should pay an amount of N$720 000 for work done by Walcon into the Standard Bank account. It was for this last offence that he was arrested in January 2020 at Oranjemund and appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court, where he was denied bail.

Taiyo MD Antonio Marcino testified that he contracted Walcon to construct his new headquarters. He then received an email with an invoice from Walcon for work done, with an additional instruction that their banking details had changed. He said after he paid the invoice, he was contacted by Walcon after a month, who were enquiring about the payment. He told them that he had already paid the invoice, and they denied it. After some investigation, it was thus discovered that the money was paid into a wrong account, and he had to pay Walcon all over again, or they would not finish constructing his head office.   

According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, Nestor fraudulently accessed the bank accounts of three business entities, upon which he transferred large amounts of money to either himself or accounts which he had access to. 

In two of the three instances, he used the same modus operandi, where he fraudulently used municipal accounts of unsuspecting victims, and used those municipal accounts to open Altcoin and Bitcoin Trader accounts in South Africa.

He is represented by Legal Aid lawyer Albert Titus, and remains in custody at the section for trial-awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. The State is represented by Basson Lilungwe, and the matter continues.


2023-07-17  Roland Routh

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