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Botha, wife apply for bail

2024-03-25  Roland Routh

Botha, wife apply for bail

Coenraad Botha and his wife, Zimbabwean national Charlotte Murove, on Friday applied for bail after they were re-arrested shortly after being released from custody the previous Friday. 

They made a first appearance last Monday on 64 charges including 31 counts of conducting banking business without authorisation, one charge of fraud, 31 counts of money laundering and one count of conducting a Ponzi scheme. 

It is alleged they mispresented to investors during the period 2018 and 2022, that they were operating a legitimate business authorised to receive investments from the public.

 That such investments would grow with interest, while knowing they were not authorised to receive any payments from the public. 

It is alleged by the State the couple defrauded investors of close to N$163 million. Botha and Murove were arrested on Monday 11 March at the Buitepos border between Botswana and Namibia after the police allegedly received intelligence that they were planning to flee the country. 

Their companies, CBI Exchange and Papaya Investments are under investigation by the police after the Bank of Namibia instituted charges of conducting banking business without authorisation.  

However, during a subsequent review of their arrest, magistrate David Mukuyu found that their arrest was unlawful as the police did not have a warrant of arrest. They were only arrested on charges of conducting banking business without authorisation and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which requires a warrant. 

When they were re-arrested, on Friday last week, the police included the charge of fraud, which does not require a warrant, as it is a schedule one offence. 

The State is opposing bail on the grounds that the charges are serious and the value the money involved in the offence is substancial. Further that there is fear that they may abscond and not stand their trial. Also, that they may interfere with State witnesses and the investigation and that it is not in the interest of justice or of the public to grant the accused bail.  The hearing is continuing, and Botha and Murove are represented by James Diedericks and Sisa Namandje, instructed by Afrika Jantjies, and the State by advocates Seredine Jacobs and Timo Itula. 

Botha remains in custody at the Windhoek police station and Murove at the Klein Windhoek police station.

2024-03-25  Roland Routh

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