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N$1.1m fraud case sees another delay

2021-05-12  Maria Amakali

N$1.1m fraud case sees another delay
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The trial hearing of two men, who stand accused of attempting to divert N$1.1 million from Air Namibia in 2017, was postponed on Monday to allow one of the suspects to obtain legal representation. 

Penna Munyunda (33) was left without a lawyer when his State-appointed lawyer withdrew from his case last year due to conflicting instructions.  

During his appearance, alongside co-accused Tangi Amon Namwandi (35) in Windhoek Regional Court, he informed the court he has enlisted the services of local lawyer Jermaine Muchali but he is yet to pay his legal fees in full. 

“I made payment to Mr Muchali’s account and I contacted him but he indicated the money is not enough. My brother is here, and he has agreed to make a
payment of N$45 000. He just needs time,” explained Munyunda.  Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt postponed the trial to resume on 11 August.  Munyunda and Namwandi are being tried on charges ranging from fraud to theft, disguising unlawful origin of property and acquisition, use and possession of proceeds of unlawful activities on diverse occasions. 

The prosecution is alleging 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 resulted in Air Namibia losing N$289 000, according to prosecution. 

The two denied guilt at the start of their trial in November 2019.  

During trial, Namwandi, through his defence lawyer Sisa Namandje at the time, admitted 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 the funds were transferred to the account by Air Namibia. 

Namwandi further admitted he spent N$289 000 of the said money, as he believed the money was his, paid into his company’s account by his debtors.  The accused, however, denied 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 the State should prove the allegations levelled against him. 

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 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.

- mamakali@nepc.com.na


2021-05-12  Maria Amakali

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