Forex traders Michael Amushelelo and Gregory Cloete are still mobilising funds to hire a senior advocate who will represent them in their upcoming trial in the Windhoek High Court.
Their lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, told High Court Judge Naomi Shivute yesterday, adding the pair was not ready to receive trial dates.
“It is my instructions from the accused that they are not ready to receive trial dates. They are busy trying to raise funds to instruct an advocate in the matter,” said Amoomo.
Shivute indicated she would not be hearing the matter due to ethical reasons. Thus, the matter has been assigned to Judge Claudia Claassen. Amushelelo and his co-accused will make their first appearance before Claassen on 29 March.
The businessmen are awaiting trial on 365 counts of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretences, conducting banking business without authorisation, tax evasion, tax fraud, 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 - all represented by Amushelelo as founder and sole member.
According to the charge sheet, Amushelelo and Cloete worked in a partnership, collaboration and/or in collusion with one another in a fraudulent enterprise formulated and operated as a Ponzi scheme.
The State is alleging 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 Institution Act. Furthermore, the prosecution is charging that the pair committed offences relating to money laundering. Consequently, the authorities seized all properties and vehicles, and they froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused. The pair is currently out on bail.