Windhoek-based lawyer Trevor Brockerhoff has indicated he will apply for a section 174 discharge of his clients after the State closed its case yesterday in the tax fraud trial in the High Court.
An accused may request to be discharged if the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence referred to on the charge sheet.
Brockerhoff is representing Pembele Zimutu (52), Isaac Cativa Cupessala (44), Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, Miapa Aurelio Nelson (32) and 28-year-old Namibian Noah Boykie Naukosho in the ongoing matter.
According to Brockerhoff, the State failed miserably to prove any of the 132 allegations of fraud, amongst other charges, his clients face. He will argue the merits of his application on Tuesday next week.
It is currently not clear whether any of the other lawyers will follow suit or will put their client’s fate in the hands of Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller.
The State closed its case after the defence laywers of the accused finished their cross-examination of senior investigator of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Karel Cloete. During his cross-examination, Brockerhoff told Cloete the ACC did a sloppy job of investigating the matter and that no iota of evidence was presented during the trial to convict his clients on the charges they face.
Zimutu, an Angolan citizen, faces 48 counts of fraud totalling N$11.3 million, while Isaac Cativa Cupessala, also an Angolan national, faces 50 counts amounting to N$3.1 million. Another Angolan accused, Jose, faces 14 counts totalling N$1.19 million, while Nelson is charged with 61 counts totalling N$4.6 million. Naukosho faces six counts amounting to N$2.4 million.
Another of the accused is Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma (28), a Namibian citizen who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, the company managing VAT refunds on behalf of the finance ministry at the time the alleged fraud was committed. She faces 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 Angolan national Lukau Nestor who absconded after getting bail.
The other accused are all also Angolan citizens. They are Benvindo Momafuba, Joaquim Pedro Espanhol, Joao Manuel dos Santos, Tatiana Luquena Muchado Gonga, Carlos Victor Elisea, Malakias Tomas Rufine, Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku and Lucio Jose Cazembe.
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 at the start of their trial last year. The amount involved in the massive value added tax fraud scam has jumped 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 finance ministry.
2020-03-12 07:08:28 | 3 months ago