KEETMANSHOOP - The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested the chairperson, acting chief executive officer and artisan foreman of the Maltahöhe Village Council on corruption charges in connection with a N$2 million fire station tender.
ACC in a press statement indicated that Otto Michael Richard, the village council’s assistant accountant and acting CEO,
Markus Saal, councillor and chairperson of the village council, and Geronimo Tise, artisan foreman and electrician were arrested on August 22 and 23 and charged with corruption in connection with a tender to construct a fire station at the village. All three are accused of using their office or position between August and October 2015 to solicit a bribe of N$150,000 from three contractors, so that they would award the tender to construct the fire station to them, while Tise and Saal are further accused of unlawfully laundering N$88,000 by purchasing a vehicle and various other items with money that allegedly formed the proceeds of crime, and Tise also faces two charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice for allegedly trying to persuade a witness to lie to an authorised ACC officer, and attempting to persuade a witness to withdraw a statement made to the ACC.
“The investigation was concluded and forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor-General who decided to arraign the three accused persons to the Mariental Regional Court on contraventions of section 43(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, contravening section 6(b) of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, Act 29 of 2004 – money laundering, and two charges of the common law offence of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice,” the ACC said in the statement.
The three made a brief appearance in the Maltahöhe Magistrate’s Court where they were granted bail of N$40,000 each and their case remanded to today, when they are expected to make their first appearance in the Mariental Regional Court.
As part of their bail conditions, the three suspects are to hand in all travel documents and not apply for new travel documents, report themselves to the Maltahöhe police station every Friday, inform the investigator if they leave the Hardap Region and they must not interfere with any witnesses.
Meanwhile, the Namibian Police Force crime investigations coordinator for Hardap Region, Deputy Commissioner Eric Clay, informed New Era yesterday afternoon that Richard and Tise have been released on bail, while Saal remains behind bars as he was yet to pay bail.