Forex traders Michael Amushelelo and Gregory Cloete have reached a financial crunch that they are now looking to the State to provide them with legal representation for their upcoming criminal trial. According to their lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, the pair could not come up with sufficient funds to enable them to appoint senior legal counsel of their choice.
“Most of the resources that the accused had were utilised for the formal bail application of accused one (Amushelelo) in the lower court. Maybe the court can show us mercy and postpone the matter to enable us to get funds to appoint senior counsel,” Amoomo told the Windhoek High Court yesterday.
However, Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula said the court cannot be held hostage because the accused cannot afford a private lawyer.
He then advised the pair to consider approaching the Directorate of Legal Aid.
Thus, Amoomo indicated that they will approach the justice ministry so that they may consider furnishing Amushelelo and his co-accused Cloete with a lawyer.
The case was previously postponed to allow Amushelelo and Cloete to appoint senior counsel. Their case was postponed to 21 July for legal aid. The business duo are awaiting trial on 365 counts of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretences, conducting a banking business without authorisation and conducting a Ponzi scheme, tax evasion, tax fraud, failure to pay tax, money- laundering and racketeering. Amushelelo and Cloete are also charged alongside legal entities Amushe Hello Investment, Amushe Advertising & Design, Amushe International Holding, Van Der Walt Trailer Manufacturing, Amushelelo Family Trust T187/2019 and Global Growth Investment Namibia.
These entities are all represented by Amushelelo as founder and sole member.
According to the charge-sheet, the accused worked in a partnership, collaboration or in collusion with one another in a fraudulent enterprise formulated and operated as a Ponzi scheme. The State is alleging that the pair advertised two types of investment facilities which they offered through a non-registered company in the name of Global Growth Investment Namibia to members of the public through face-to-face seminars, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and various other social media network platforms under the guise that the invested funds would be traded on foreign currency platforms on behalf of investors.
It is further alleged that the two accused aided each other in the execution and management of the “phoney” forex dealing business, which they conducted through the non-existent company Global Growth Investment Namibia (Pty) Ltd.
To further their plan, it is alleged, they formulated and exploited the corporate personalities of Amushe Hello Investment, Amushe Advertising and Design, Amushe International Holding, Van Der Walt Trailer Manufacturing, Amushelelo Family Trust and Global Growth Investment Namibia. They are also accused of having facilitated the signing of investment agreements with members of the public, whereupon members would invest N$5 000 or more, and in return get a 50% interest after a period of two to four months. Alternatively, members of the public could invest N$2 500 for a period of eight months, and receive N$12 654.25 at the end.
Court documents state the pair received N$17 million from members of the public intending to conduct banking services.
This, according to the prosecution, Amushelelo and Cloete did without being authorised in terms of the Banking Institutions Act.
Furthermore, the prosecution is charging that the pair committed offences relating to money-laundering.
Consequently, the authorities seized all properties and vehicles, while they froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused.
The pair are currently on bail in this matter. Amushelelo, however, is presently in police custody after he and seven others were arrested in May for another case.
They are accused of inciting public violence when they staged a protest against Chinese business owners, whom they claim are being allowed to sell counterfeit goods.
The protests followed a revelation that the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) destroyed counterfeit goods worth N$5 million. -email@example.com