Karel Cloete, the Anti-Corruption Commission senior investigator in the tax fraud investigation said that during their investigations it came to light at least N$2 billion worth of invoices were presented to Aveshe Consulting – the firm contracted by government to pay out tax refunds on purchases made for export – by several Angolans with the help of unscrupulous Namibians. He informed Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller yesterday at least 108 Angolans believed to be a part of the syndicate are at large as they managed to escape before the scheme came to light.
He said they uncovered claims worth N$307 million of which at least N$100 million was paid out.
According to Cloete, they initially arrested more than 80 suspects, but some had to be released as their claims were legitimate.
But, he said, several managed to evade the clutches of the ACC as they were warned beforehand despite the ACC confiscating cellphones belonging to those arrested. He testified the main suspect in the saga, Mammy Mweneni Nuuyoma, 29, a Namibian who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, also known as Hilma processed over 90 percent of the claims. He further told the court that when he interrogated Joao Manuel Dos Santos 38, Angolan facing 149 counts amounting to N$172.5 million, he was told that most of the money was meant for Nuuyoma. Cloete also said that Dos Santos told him that he at several occasions also gave Nuuyoma cash. He said Noah Boykie Naukosho, 28, a Namibian facing six counts amounting to N$2.4 million told him the N$800 000 he withdrew from his business bank account, Triple N Investments, was meant for Nuuyoma.
According to Cloete, Boykie was willing to become a State witness, but after he spoke to a lawyer, he made a U-turn and declined the offer which resulted in his arrest. Cloete informed the court that they confiscated thousands of invoices and SAD 500 forms used to obtain the fraudulent claims and had to sift through it and that they had to call various suppliers to verify the invoices and in most instances the suppliers denied it their invoices.
He also told the court that they managed to have several bank accounts belonging to some suspects frozen and the money in it declared forfeited to the State as well as several other properties.
Cloete is expected to face cross-examination today from Advocate Winnie Christiaans who represents Nuuyoma on instructions of the Directorate of Legal Aid. He is testifying in the trial of Nuuyoma and Naukosho and 12 Angolans accused of defrauding the Namibian Government to the tune of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia.
All of the accused pleaded not guilty to 629 counts of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent before Judge Miller and his two assessors, John Mandy and Yolande Böttger at the start of their trial last year.
It is alleged that the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, Vat claim forms and customs documentation to claim VAT refunds from the Ministry of Finance.
The Angolan accused are Benvindo Momafuba (48), Pembele Zimutu (52), Joaquim Pedro Espanhol (35), Manuel Dos Santos (38), Tatiana Luquena Muchado Gonga (28), Carlos Victor Elisea (33), Isaac Cativa Cupessala (44), Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, Malakias Tomas Rufine (30), Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku (28), Miapa Aurelio Nelson (32), Lucio Jose Cazembe (43). Each accused will be prosecuted on certain accusations only, according to the charge sheet. Vetu Uanivi is on record for Nestor, Momafuba and Eliseu; Trevor Brockerhoff for Zimutu, Cupessala, Jose, Nelson and Naukosho; Theo Carollus for Gonga and Rufine and Mekumbu Tjiteere for Tchinduku and Cazembe, Kalundu Kamwi is representing Dos Santos.
All the accused except Nuuyoma, Nestor, Momafuba, Zimutu, Gonga, Cupessala, Cazembe and Naukosho are in custody.
2020-03-10 08:56:53 | 4 months ago