WINDHOEK - The second state witness to testify in the ongoing tax refund scam trial currently in the Windhoek High Court yesterday identified several SAD 500 forms that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) brought to him to analyse as false.
Paul Nakhom, a senior analyst at the customs division at the Ministry of Finance took the stand after Uaepsa Mukuambi, a tax consultant at Aveshe Consultancy, the firm that was contracted by finance to handle the tax refunds, was thoroughly cross-examined by the defence counsels.
During the cross-examination, she conceded that the reason the main accused in the trial, Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma, handled the Angolan claims was because she was the only one in the office that could speak Portuguese. Mukuambi said during her evidence in chief that Nuuyoma handled about 95 percent of the Angolan claims.
Yesterday, Nakhom told Acting Windhoek High Court Judge Kobus Miller and his two assessors, John Mandy and Yolande Böttger, that the SAD 500 forms the ACC brought to him did not exist on the ASYCUDA system, but that forms with identical registration or C number did exist.
These forms however contained vastly different information. On the false form was depicted a different name for the exporter or for the importer for that matter. Other major discrepancies were the destination of the goods, the nature of the goods as well the amounts. State Advocate Henry Muhongo took Nakhom through the claims submitted by the Angolan accused and he was adamant they are not legitimate.
The 12 Angolans still remaining in the accused box and their two Namibian counterparts are accused of defrauding the Namibian Government to the tune of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia. All pleaded not guilty to 629 counts of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent at the start of their trial that is scheduled to take about eight months to finalise.
Charges were withdrawn against two of the original sixteen Angolans after they absconded when given bail.
The amount involved in the massive value added tax fraud scam has more than doubled from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million, it emerged from the indictment document.
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 accused are Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma, 28, a Namibian citizen who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, who is facing 626 counts including defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice in addition to the other charges. It is alleged that she stole more than N$3.3 million in cahoots with Lukau Nestor, 56, an Angolan citizen who absconded after getting bail. The second accused is Angolan citizen Benvindo Momafuba, 48. The third accused is Pembele Zimutu, 52, no. 4 is Joaquim Pedro Espanhol, 35, accused 5 is Joao Manuel dos Santos, 38, accused 6 is Tatiana Luquena Muchado Gonga, 28, accused 7 is Carlos Victor Elisea, 33, accused eight is 43-year-old Angolan Isaac Cativa Cupessala, accused nine is Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose; Malakias Tomas Rufine, 29, is accused 10, accused 11 is Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku, 27, accused 12 is Miapa Aurelio Nelson, 32, accused 13 is Lucio Jose Cazembe, 43, accused 14 is Noah Boykie Naukosho, 28.
Each accused will be prosecuted on certain accusations only, according to the charge sheet.
Advocate Winnie Christiaans is representing Nuuyoma; Vetu Uanivi is on record for Nestor, Momafuba and Eliseu; Trevor Brockerhoff for Zimutu, Cupessala, Jose and Nelson; Theo Carollus for Gonga and Rufine; Mekumbu Tjiteere for Tchinduku and Cazembe, Kalundu Kamwi is representing Dos Santos, while Naukosho is representing himself.
All the accused except Nuuyoma, Nestor, Momafuba, Zimutu, Gonga, Cupessala, Cazembe and Naukosho are in custody.