The trial of a former police officer who studied information technology and allegedly committed fraud to the tune of N$10 million, was postponed on Wednesday to give his new lawyer a chance to get up to speed with his case.
His former Legal Aid lawyer Tanya Klazen withdrew from the matter, and in-house lawyer Albert Titus was appointed to take over the case. Titus came on board on Wednesday, and asked Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen for time to get acquainted with the docket as well as to consult his client who is facing charges of fraud, alternatively theft, money laundering, forgery and uttering.
It is alleged by the State that Ricardo Nghilifavali 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$5.515 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 by the State 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. 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, the State alleges. Furthermore, the indictment read, he hacked into the account of Spot-On Discount Liquor and made payments of N$60 000 to employees of Spot-On Discount Liquor.
The State charges that he 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 in Oranjemund and appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court, where he was denied bail.
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 remains in custody at the section for trial-awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. The State is represented by Basson Lilungwe.