Forex traders Michael Amushelelo and Gregory Cloete have indicated to Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen that they would consider bringing a recusal application against her for perceived bias.
Judge Claasen is the judicial officer that was assigned to preside over their trial on various charges of contravening the Banking Act.
Also charged are 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.
The charges are 348 counts of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretences, conducting banking business without authorisation and conducting a Ponzi scheme, tax evasion, tax fraud, failure to pay tax, money laundering and racketeering. Overall, the accused faces 365 counts.
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.
It is further alleged that they 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 further alleged, that they formulated and/or 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 also 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 his co-accused 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 froze all bank accounts belonging to the accused.
Currently, there is a petition demanding the release of all assets and money of Amushelelo and Cloete.
The petition, spearheaded by investors and sympathisers, has thus far collected 618 signatures out of a targeted 1 000.
The matter was postponed to 26 April 2022 at 09h00 for the parties to indicate whether they intend to bring a recusal application or not.
Constance Moyo and Basson Lilungwe will prosecute the matter and Kadhila Amoomo appeared for the accused.
The accused did, however, indicate that they would like to appoint an advocate once they raise sufficient funds.