The trial of two Windhoek residents who stand accused of attempting to divert N$1.1 million from Air Namibia has come to a standstill after one of the accused’s lawyer withdrew from the matter.
Defence lawyer Laura Pack, who was representing Penna Munyunda (32) on legal aid instructions, withdrew her services due to conflicting instructions.
“After consultations, we had differences and I advised her to withdraw from the matter,” explained Munyunda upon enquiries from the court.
He further informed the court that he will require three months to get a private lawyer to represent him.
However, magistrate Surita Savage only gave him seven weeks to get legal representation, citing the matter has been on the court’s roll for a lengthy period of time.
Thus, the court postponed the matter to 7 December.
Munyunda is being tried alongside Tangi Amon Namwandi (34) on charges ranging from fraud to theft, disguising unlawful origin of a property, and acquisition, use and possession of proceeds of unlawful activities on diverse occasions.
The prosecution is alleging that Munyunda and Namwandi diverted N$1.1 million that was intended for payments at the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) from Air Namibia in 2017.
The unauthorised diversion of funds has cost Air Namibia to lose N$289 000, according to the prosecution.
The two denied guilt at the start of their trial.
During the trial, Namwandi through his defence lawyer admitted that an amount of N$1.1 million was indeed deposited into his company’s account, held under the name Normma CC at First National Bank on the date in question.
He explained that the funds were transferred to the account by Air Namibia.
Namwandi further admitted that he spent N$289 000 of the said money as he believed that the money was his, paid into his company’s account by his debtors.
The accused, however, denied that he conspired with an employee of Air Namibia in an attempt to steal money that was deposited into his company’s account by mistake.
Munyunda, after taking his plea, opted to remain silent, with his defence attorney informing the court that the State should prove the allegations levelled against him.
The Namibian police arrested Namwandi and Munyunda on 4 October 2017 after a local bank alerted Air Namibia of a detected dubious diversion of money that was meant for payment to the NAC.
It is alleged that the transfer in question was fully authorised and signed off to be paid to NAC when a suspicious request was made to the bank for the money to be transferred to a different bank account other than that of NAC.
All accused are currently on N$50 000 bail. Namwandi is represented by Milton Engelbrecht with Fillemon Nyau prosecuting for the State.