An irate High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller yesterday issued a warrant of arrest for Anti-Corruption Commission senior investigator Karel Cloete for failing to show up for his scheduled witness testimony in the tax fraud trial underway in the Windhoek High Court.
This was the second time Cloete had ignored a summons from the Office of the Prosecutor General to appear in court and the case subsequently postponed.
Cloete had informed the prosecutor Henry Muhongo that he was in Walvis Bay busy with the Fishrot investigation.
After Muhongo explained this to Miller, the judge sarcastically wanted to know if his investigation or search, as he described it, was more important than obeying a summons issued by the prosecutor general.
Muhongo was at pains to explain why Cloete failed to show up and could only inform the judge that he had made several advances towards Cloete and the latter promised him he would be at court for yesterday’s session.
He further showed the judge the summons that was served on Cloete on 20 February and Miller said that that made it even more aggravating.
He then issued the warrant of arrest, but held it over until Friday. The warrant will be authorised if Cloete does not appear on Friday and Cloete stands the risk of being arrested and brought to court from custody.
He is supposed to testify in the trial of two Namibians and 12 Angolans accused of defrauding the Namibian government to the tune of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia.
The case had previously been postponed as the judge involved in the matter fell ill. The accused were then told to come back on 19 August to hear the status of their hearing and possibly get new dates for their trial.
All of the accused pleaded not guilty to 629 counts of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent, before Judge Miller and his two assessors, John Mandy and Yolande Böttger, at the start of their trial last year. The amount involved in the massive value added tax fraud scam has jumped from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million, it emerged from the indictment document.
It is alleged that the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim VAT refunds from the Ministry of Finance. The accused include Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma (28) a Namibian citizen who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, the company managing VAT refunds on behalf of the ministry at the time the offences were committed and who faces 626 counts including defeating, or attempting to defeat, the course of justice in addition to the other charges.
It is alleged that she stole more than N$3.3 million in cahoots with Lukau Nestor (56) an Angolan citizen who absconded after getting bail. The second accused is Angolan citizen Benvindo Momafuba (48) who faces 18 charges amounting to N$1.7 million. The third accused is Pembele Zimutu (52), an Angolan who faces 48 counts totalling N$11.3 million. The other accused are Joaquim Pedro Espanhol, Joao Manuel dos Santos, Tatiana Luquena Muchado Gonga, Carlos Victor Elisea, Isaac Cativa Cupessala, Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, Malakias Tomas Rufine, Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku, Miapa Aurelio Nelson and Lucio Jose Cazembe.
Another Namibian, Noah Boykie Naukosho, also faces six counts amounting to N$2.4 million. Each accused will be prosecuted on certain accusations only, according to the charge sheet.
2020-03-05 07:09:31 | 25 days ago