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Conviction ‘ruined’ Aupindi’s political career 

2021-10-05  Maria Amakali

Conviction ‘ruined’ Aupindi’s political career 
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Swapo backbencher Tobie Aupindi had a stroke of luck when he and businessman Antonio di Savino’s appeal against their conviction and sentence succeeded yesterday in the High Court.

Having succeeded in their appeal, judge Christie Liebenberg ordered the State should reimburse the fine that Aupindi and Di Savino paid for their sentence.

Speaking after court proceedings, Aupindi’s lawyer, Richard Metcalfe said Aupindi has always been an innocent man and it was the “travesty of justice which was perpetuated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)”. 

Metcalfe said the corruption case ruined Aupindi’s political career over a period of 10 years. 

“My client was internationally renowned and it has destroyed his career in international business circles,” explained Metcalfe. 

 

 

He added there may be claims against the ACC once they have studied the judgement. 

After six years of being on trial, magistrate Helvi Shilemba in October 2018, convicted Aupindi and Di Savino on the main count of corruptly providing false information to an authorised officer of the ACC and an alternative count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. 

Shilemba consequently sentenced them to pay a fine in the amount of N$50 000 or spend 30 months in prison each. 

The charges emanate from a swimming pool that was built at Aupindi’s residence on 25 Kestrel Street in Windhoek’s Hochland Park. 

It is alleged Di Savino paid N$50 000 for the swimming pool in exchange for tenders for the refurbishment of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) facilities in several parts of the country. 

It is alleged that at the time the pool was installed, Di Savino was doing business with NWR where Aupindi was employed as managing director. The prosecution alleged Aupindi provided false information to the ACC’s investigative officer, stating that he had paid for the swimming pool himself via a cash payment to a local company. The court found this was not the case. 

During the trial, a witness who installed the swimming pool at Aupindi’s residence informed the court Aupindi paid in cash for the installation. The case was on the court roll for many years before their conviction after it was put on hold for them to appeal against Shilemba’s decision not to recuse herself from their corruption trial for perceived bias. 

The matter was dismissed both in the High Court and Supreme Court. The two courts came to the conclusion that Aupindi and Di Savino had failed to establish the facts necessary to confirm bias or a reasonable apprehension of bias.

 

 

-mamakali@nepc.com.na

 

 

 


2021-10-05  Maria Amakali

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