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Bongers grilled in MTC graft trial

2018-10-03  Roland Routh

Bongers grilled in MTC graft trial

WINDHOEK - The trial of prominent Windhoek lawyer Dirk Conradie and his long-time friend Sara Ngenohani Damases resumed in the Windhoek High Court yesterday with Mark Bongers, the man who taped a conversation he had with Conradie, facing cross-examination.
Bongers was grilled by South African senior counsel Vas Soni.

Soni is using various tricks to make it seem that Bongers and his wife Kim Fields were interested in the proposition Conradie and Damases made to them, to the extent that they extended the meeting, contrary to their claims they just wanted to get out of there as the context of the meeting had apparently made them uncomfortable. 

At some stage, according to Soni, Conradie could be heard saying to Bongers and Fields “the meeting never took place” and that was an opportune time for them to make their exit graciously, but they did not take the opportunity.
Bongers remained steadfast in his evidence that he and Fields only attended the meeting as a courtesy since Conradie was the chairman of MTC and they submitted a bid for the advertising contract, but were totally unprepared for the context of the meeting.

Conradie and Damases face three counts of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act for allegedly attempting to bribe Bongers and his wife and business partner Kim Fields with a massive advertising contract from MTC if they took Damases on board as a BEE partner.

Bongers made a recording of a meeting he and Fields had with Conradie and Damases in the office of Conradie on June 12, 2012 and subsequently reported the alleged bribe to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

In the recordings Conradie can be heard asking Bongers and his business and life partner, Fields, whether they have a BEE partner and when Bongers answered in the negative saying that he can provide them with one, Conradie can be heard saying that DV8 Saatchi and Saatchi, the company of Bongers and Fields, is not the favourite to win the MTC advertising contract worth an estimated N$60 million at the time, but he could apparently change it in their favour.
The meeting apparently took place after Damases approached Bongers at his office with a “message from the MTC chairman”.

According to Bongers, he agreed to the meeting out of curiosity and because Damases introduced herself as the wife of Judge President Petrus Damaseb and as an independent consultant for MTC.

Conradie allegedly told Bongers during the meeting that he will use his position as chair of the MTC board to ensure that the advertising agency owned by Bongers and Fields gets the telecommunication giant’s N$60 million advertising tender in turn for them taking Damases on board as a black economic empowerment (BEE) equity in their company.
They were arrested in June 2012 after Bongers and Fields allegedly availed a tape recording of Conradie, allegedly soliciting a bribe from them, to the ACC. The trial is continuing today and Bongers is set to face another barrage of cross-examination from Vetu Uanivi on behalf of Damases.

Judge Thomas Masuku is presiding over the matter and State Advocate Ed Marondedze assisted by Advocate Solomon Kanyemba is prosecuting.
Conradie and Damases are free on bail.

2018-10-03  Roland Routh

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