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Julius contemplates PG suit withdrawal

2021-09-28  Maria Amakali

Julius contemplates PG suit withdrawal
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One of the accused in a multi-billion-dollar customs fraud case is considering withdrawing a High Court case in which he wants that court to stop his prosecution on charges of fraud and money laundering.

Walvis Bay-based businessman and sole owner of Extreme Customs Clearing Services (XCCS), Laurensius Julius, through his lawyer Dirk Conradie, said he is currently consulting further as he is considering withdrawing the matter.

Consequently, Judge Thomas Masuku postponed the matter to 7 October for a status hearing, for Julius to consider the way forward in his matter.

In March 2018, Julius approached the High Court to have the prosecutor general's (PG) decision to charge him with fraud and money laundering reviewed and set aside.

In his affidavit, he is claiming the PG took the decision without any evidence to support it. Furthermore, the prosecution decided to charge him in his personal capacity when it’s the activities of Extreme Customs Clearing Services that are of concern. He says the prosecution was supposed to charge him in his capacity as the director of the company.

Deputy PG, Ed Marondedze, in an answering affidavit said the PG’s decision cannot be reviewed. He said Julius’ argument constitutes his defence to the charges he is currently facing.

Julius, alongside Chinese businessman Jack Huang and several co-accused Chinese nationals, were arrested in 2017 for allegedly having a hand in the N$3.5 billion loss incurred by the Ministry of Finance between 2010 and 2016.

One of the accused, Jinrong Huang, fled the country and died in China, according to media reports. The other accused are Tao Huizhong, Zhu Honggang, Zhihua Gua, Hongying Jia, Shuhua Cao, Dadi Li and Ying Zhang.

According to police and forensic accounting evidence presented during the accused’s formal bail hearing, the 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 investigated by the Bank of Namibia last year.

During the investigation, it was discovered that N$3.5 billion was shipped out of the country through Julius’ 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.

The accused are charged with counts of tax evasion, fraud and money laundering.

All accused persons are on bail, ranging between N$500 000 and N$1.5 million, respectively.

The criminal case is with the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court and has been postponed to 22 February 2022 for the PG’s decision.

 

-mamakali@nepc.com.na

 

 

 


2021-09-28  Maria Amakali

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