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Bribery suspect denies wrongdoing

2021-08-04  Maria Amakali

Bribery suspect denies wrongdoing

A Windhoek based Swapo youth leader, entangled in a bribery plot to allegedly mobilise for the release of the Fishrot accused from custody, said he did nothing wrong. 

This is despite the Anti-Corruption Commission’s documentary and audio evidence stating otherwise. 

Sylas Tangi Mungoba denied approaching Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement leaders Paulus Kathanga and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma to organise any sort of demonstration against the Judiciary. 

He said he only approached them so they can create awareness around the Fishrot issue through their social media platforms. He further indicated the N$8 000 he allegedly offered Kathanga was from his personal business account and it is not Fishrot money.  

“I had no idea that giving money in that way is considered as a bribe,” said Mungoba. In his defence, his lawyer Petrus Elago said organising demonstrations was not illegal in the country.

He questioned how the exchange of money between two people to organise and conduct a demonstration amounts to bribery. 

He indicated certain people within society are paid to promote brands or people on social media and it is not unlawful. 

However, ACC lead investigating officer Phelem Masule said it is the illegal element attached to the use of the money and the positions held by Mungoba, Kathanga and Nauyoma. 

Masule testified that according to Paulus’ affidavit, Mungoba firstly approached Paulus in 2020 with intent to halt the demonstrations against the release of the Fishrot accused from custody on bail. But those demonstrations took place. He then took his chance again with him this year in July, asking him to spearhead the demonstration for the release of the Fishrot accused from custody. 

He allegedly assured Kathanga that money was available to cater for expenses such as printing of T-shirts and transportation of demonstrators from the northern part of the country to Windhoek.  

“The applicant (Mungoba) indicated to the whistleblower (Kathanga) that the money would come from Fitty’s (Tamson Hatuikulipi) wife as she knows where the money is hidden. To show commitment, they (Kathanga and Nauyoma) were to receive N$10 000 each,” explained Masule. Kathanga and Nauyoma would then later receive payments in portions of N$50 000, N$60 000 and N$80 000 once everything has progressed as planned.  

Masule said there is a strong case against Mungoba as they have various affidavits from witnesses, text messages between him and Kathanga, two audio recordings and a letter from Fishrot accused Sacky Shanghala and first-hand evidence when the exchange of the money took place, all implicating him. 

Mungoba is charged with a count of corruptly giving gratification under section 34(a) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 8 of 2003 – he tried to directly or indirectly give gratification as an inducement. 

He is further charged with a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice. 

Mungoba is accused of trying to entice Kathanga to mobilise and launch a protest for the release of those currently in police custody for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-dollar fisheries bribery case currently before the High Court. He was arrested during a sting operation on 16 July. He was found with N$1 780 upon his arrest. The bail hearing is ongoing before magistrate Celma Amadhila.

2021-08-04  Maria Amakali

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