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N$210m tax refund scam accused found guilty

2021-03-03  Roland Routh

N$210m tax refund scam accused found guilty
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The two Namibians and 12 Angolans accused of defrauding the Namibian authorities to the tune of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia were convicted on the counts they faced by acting Windhoek High Court Judge Kobus Miller and his two assessors, John Mandy and Yolande Böttger on Monday. 

The 14 accused faced different counts of the total 629 counts of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent with Namibian citizen Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma (31) who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, the company managing value-added tax (VAT) refunds on behalf of the ministry at the time the crime was allegedly committed. Charges were withdrawn against two of the original 16 Angolans after they absconded when they were granted bail. 

The other Namibian Noah Boykie Naukosho (31) who was charged with five counts of fraud and one count of money laundering amounting to N$2.4 million was convicted on the count of money laundering and acquitted on the fraud counts. 

Nuuyoma was convicted on all 626 counts including defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice in addition to the other charges. It was alleged that she stole more than N$3.3 million in cahoots with Lukau Nestor (56), an Angolan citizen who absconded after getting bail. 

The amount involved in the scam more than doubled from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million. It is alleged that the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim tax refunds from the finance ministry. 

Angolan nationals Benvindo Momafuba (51) was convicted on eight charges of fraud, Pembele Zimutu (54) on 24 counts of fraud, Joaquim Pedro Espanhol (38) on five counts of fraud, Joao Manuel Dos Santos (41) on 48 counts of fraud and one count of money laundering. Carlos Victor Elisea (35) was convicted on three counts of fraud, while 45-year-old Isaac Cativa Cupessala was found guilty on 19 counts of fraud. Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose was convicted on seven counts of fraud, Malakias Tomas Rufine (31) on ten counts of fraud, Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku (30) on three counts of fraud and Miapa Aurelio Nelson (35) on 21 counts of fraud. The matter will return on 29 March for pre-sentencing proceedings. The bail of Nuuyoma, Nestor, Momafuba, Zimutu, Gonga, Cupessala and Cazembe was cancelled and they were remanded in custody. Naukosho’s bail was extended after his lawyer, Trevor Brockerhoff successfully opposed an application by Henry Muhongo on behalf of the State to have his bail cancelled.

2021-03-03  Roland Routh

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