A forex trader, accused of defrauding 79 people of over N$4 million, will be going on trial in November.
Making an appearance yesterday in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Dinah Usiku, Sakaria Namwandi was informed the court has scheduled the days from 14 to 18 November for his trial hearing.
The case has over 100 State witnesses, who will be subpoenaed in groups to testify through the trial, according to State prosecutor Constance Moyo.
Namwandi, who is currently on bail and the sole member of Asset Legacy Investment CC, will be tried on 123 charges of fraud, a count of money laundering, racketeering, conducting banking business while not authorised and conducting a Ponzi scheme.
In addition, he further faces two counts of tax evasion and two counts of failure to pay tax.
Prosecution is alleging Namwandi fraudulently used his business when he formulated and operated a Ponzi scheme in which he, through the entity, advertised two types of investment facilities to members of the public – through face-to-face interactions and social media platforms.
The advertisements were done under the guise that the invested funds would be traded on foreign exchange platforms with a return of 50% within 30 days.
The prosecution says he did so, knowing that he was not authorised to receive any deposits or investments from members of the public.
With regards to the charge of money laundering, Namwandi allegedly used the ill-gotten funds from the investors to purchase a Mercedes Benz vehicle for personal use.
He further used part of the funds received from investors to settle rentals for a leased residential property that was also used as an office for his operations.
In relation to the charge of racketeering, it is alleged that during the period from June 2019 to October 2019, the accused, acting in connivance with one another in a partnership, contrived to facilitate the receipt of illegal deposits and transfers of funds fraudulently obtained from investors.
The charge of conducting a banking business without authorisation stems from the period between June 2019 and October 2019, where Namwandi is said to have conducted a banking business without authorisation by receiving, accepting or taking regular deposits from members of the public, which is in contravention of the Banking Institutions Act.
The charge of conducting a Ponzi scheme relates to the accused during the same period having unlawfully become involved in the conduct of an undesirable practice by accepting or obtaining money, directly or indirectly, and paying previous investors with funds invested by new members.
The tax evasion and failure to pay tax charges are that having registered as a taxpayer, Namwandi falsely declared to the finance ministry that he had no taxable income for the years 2020 to 2021, while in actual fact he had N$3.1 million in various bank accounts and failed to pay tax in the amount of N$1 million.
For his trial, Namwandi will be represented by lawyer Joseph Andreas.