WINDHOEK - The wife of embattled coastal estate agent Erwin Sprangers, 58, was on Monday acquitted on all charges in the Windhoek High Court after she applied for a section 174 discharge at the state’s case and was granted one by Judge Eileen Rakow.
After State Advocate Tuna Iitula closed its case against Lorinda Sprangers, her Legal Aid lawyer Quinton Haoseb asked for a section 174 discharge, as the state did not prove any of its allegations against her.
The Sprangers couple was indicted together on four counts of theft by conversion, alternatively theft and one count of money laundering over N$6.7 million that Sprangers allegedly stole from a Congolese general.
Erwin Sprangers was recently ordered by the High Court to pay Democratic Republic of Congo Army General Francois Olenga US$850 000. Sprangers alone is still facing a charge of fraud.
The matter arose from a business transaction between Sprangers and Olenga during January, 2010, when it was allegedly agreed that Olenga would deposit US$900 000 into the trust banking account of Sprangers’ estate agency, Kintcher Estates, as trust money for the development of two properties the general owned at the coast or for the acquisition of further properties for Olenga.
Lorinda pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied she had at any time any negotiations or dealings with Olenga, and that she was never present when business was discussed between her husband and Olenga.
She admitted having worked with Erwin as an estate agent and that she was married to him out of community of property, but that she resigned with effect from 28 February 2009.
She further admitted she had signing powers on the business accounts of the estate agency, but that she ceased to be a partner in the business during 2008 and did not have insights into the accounts of the business anymore.
Olenga himself testified that Lorinda was never part of the business discussions when he visited Sprangers and would only on accession bring them coffee or tea.
According to Judge Rakow, in order to prove the theft charges, the state had to lead evidence to link Lorinda specifically, with the commitment of the act of theft and specifically show her role in the commitment of the offence and the conversion that took place.
She further said the offence is defined as the unlawful and intentional appropriation of a moveable asset, which includes an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the asset.
The state failed to prove its allegation in this regard, the judge said.
With regard to the money laundering charge, she said no evidence was presented establishing any link between Lorinda and the allegations made.
According to Judge Rakow, the question to answer is whether the evidence presented by the prosecution is such that a reasonable court, acting carefully, might properly convict and after evaluating the evidence presented in this matter, the answer is a resounding no.
2019-12-05 07:04:09 | 4 months ago