Prosecutor general Martha Imalwa has decided to prosecute a group of businesspeople, including Chinese-born tycoon Jack Huang, as well as multiple business entities over charges of tax evasion, fraud and money laundering involving N$3.5 billion.
State prosecutor Timo Itula informed the accused yesterday in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court about the prosecutor general’s decision to have them stand trial on more than 245 counts. The accused will be tried in the High Court.
The case has been postponed to 4 July for the lower court to transfer the matter to the High Court. The accused include Namibian businessman Julius Laurentius, Huang, Tao Huizhong, Zhu Honggang, Zhihua Gua, Hongying Jia, Shuhua Cao, Dadi Li and Ying Zhang.
Jinrong Huang fled the country and died in China, according to media reports. During court proceedings yesterday, defence lawyer Sisa Namandje informed the court Huang, Li and Huizhong are currently out of the country. He indicated their absence is in accordance with the arrangements made with their investigating officer.
Namandje assured the court his clients will be at the High Court for their first appearance. All accused persons are currently on bail, ranging between N$500 000 and N$1.5 million, respectively. Magistrate Samunzala Samunzala extended their bail until their next court appearance.
According to police and forensic accounting evidence presented during the accused formal bail hearing, the finance ministry suffered losses of the substantial amount in question as a result of the under-declaration of the value of goods imported into Namibia and on which customs duties were supposed to be paid.
The investigations revealed there was an outflow of foreign currency from Namibia at the time. During the investigation, it was discovered that N$3.5 billion was shipped out of the country through Laurentius’ business Extreme Customs Clearing Services, among others.
Investigators unearthed those imports were under-declared at customs and over-declared at the bank, resulting in losses of billions of dollars to Namibia.
The evidence indicated there was a huge difference in the amount presented at the bank for deposit and that presented at customs for clearance. The amount allegedly paid to foreign beneficiaries does not correlate to the amount on the invoices. The substantial amount is said to have been remitted to offshore accounts through a local bank.