WINDHOEK – Fraud suspects Manga Manga-Mukena, her husband Joseph Mukena and Celestino Gabriel Antonio want Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller to grant them leave to appeal his decision not to recuse himself from their trial.
The accused, who are on trial for allegedly defrauding MultiChoice of over N$2 million, brought an application through their lawyer Kalundu Kamwi for Judge Miller to recuse himself. They claim they will not get a fair trial as the judge has insight into their case as he was supposed to be the mediator between Nawa-Mukena and MultiChoice Namibia in a civil suit the TV company has brought against her.
The mediation however never took place.
The State through Advocate Salomon Kanyemba opposed the application on the grounds that the applicants failed to give convincing reasons for the judge to recuse himself and also because the mediation never took place. “Allowing this will allow the applicants to embark on a quest for a judge they think is right for them. It is meritless and should not be entertained,” explained Kanyemba.
Judge Miller wasted no time and delivered his ruling a mere three days after the hearing, refusing to step down from the trial, saying there was not the slightest evidence that he would not be impartial in the trial.
The accused then indicated to the judge that they would seek leave to appeal his decision in the Supreme Court.
That application will be heard this coming Friday.
The trio is on trial on 161 criminal counts ranging from fraud to theft, forgery and money laundering.
The prosecution says all charges emanate from the falsification of 80 invoices worth N$2 088 071 for advertising services.
According to court documents, between April 1, 2013 and March 17, 2017, Mukena and her co-accused allegedly defrauded MultiChoice Namibia.
The documents further state that over a period of three years the trio falsified 80 invoices and enticed the television company to pay for advertising services that were never rendered by state-owned newspaper Kundana (Pty) Ltd.
Allegedly, the invoices were presented with banking details but not of Kundana (Pty) Ltd and, as such, the payments were made into the accused’s accounts.