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Legal representation delays witness fees scam case

2021-12-03  Maria Amakali

Legal representation delays witness fees scam case
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A lack of legal representation for some of the accused charged alongside former prosecutor Ivan Tjizu for allegedly fraudulently scamming the Office of the Judiciary in witness fees, has caused a delay in the trial.

Windhoek magistrate Johannes Shuuveni postponed the matter to 9 February 2022 to allow Festus Mweendeleli, Benjamin Amoomo and Martin Nepando to sort out their legal representation. The court ordered for a warrant of arrest for Eino Kombanda, who is at large.

Nepando informed the court that he is still waiting for the Directorate of Legal Aid to respond to his application, while Amoomo’s application was declined and he will engage a private lawyer. Mweendeleli said he will reapply after his State lawyer withdrew.

Mweendeleli, Komanda, Amoomo and Nepando are charged alongside former prosecutor Tjizu, Sackaria Panduleni, Paulus Fillemon, Today Amoomo, Sam Haiduwa, Andrew Masipa, Gabriel Usko, Alvin Kuutondokwa, Pendukeni Shikongo, Michael Namene, Kuuke Kamaantu, Dave Valombola and Isai Nathanael in the matter.

The group is charged with more than 130 counts of corruption under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act. 

The charges range from fraud to managing an enterprise, conducted through a pattern of racketeering activities, corruptly giving a false document containing false statements to an agent and money - laundering.

The prosecution charges that while Tjizu was working for the office of the Prosecutor General, stationed at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, he conspired with his co-accused in scamming N$410 000 from the Office of the Judiciary through paid-out witness fees. 

It is alleged that the group fraudulently worked together with a web of people in claiming witness fees for people who allegedly travelled from outside Windhoek, and were arranged to pose as State witnesses during court sessions.  

As a prosecutor at the time, Tjizu would allegedly misrepresent the witnesses to the presiding magistrate, and as a result witness fees were falsely claimed and paid out. Once witness fees had allegedly been paid out to people who were arranged to pose as witnesses, the money would then be shared.

All accused are currently on warning.

2021-12-03  Maria Amakali

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