WINDHOEK - Following the decision by Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller to dismiss their application for leave to appeal his decision not to recuse himself to the Supreme Court, fraud suspects Manga Manga-Mukena, her husband Joseph Mukena and Celestino Gabriel Antonio have indicated they will petition the Chief Justice directly.
Judge Miller shot down their application, saying he does not see any prospects of success.
He further said that there was nothing in their application that suggested that another court will come to a different conclusion.
After hearing that, the Mukena and Antonio intends to petition the Supreme Court, the judge postponed their matter to August 12 for a status hearing on what the Chief Justice decided.
The accused who are on trial for allegedly defrauding Multichoice of over N$2 million brought an application for Judge Miller to recuse himself claiming they will not get a fair trial as the judge had insight into their case as he was supposed to be the mediator between Nawa-Mukena and Multichoice Namibia in a civil suit the TV company has brought against her.
The mediation however never took place.
The State through Advocate Salomon Kanyemba opposed the application on the grounds that the applicants failed to give convincing reasons for the judge to recuse himself and also stressing that the mediation never took place.
“Allowing this will allow the applicants to embark on a quest for a judge they think is right for them. It is meritless and should not be entertained,” explained Kanyemba.
The trio is on trial on 161 criminal counts ranging from fraud, theft, forgery and altering a forged document and money laundering.
The Mukena couple face 85 counts of fraud alternatively theft, the wife alone 84 counts of forgery and uttering a forged document, all three accused face a second count of forgery and uttering a forged document, the Mukena face one count of contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, all three one count of money laundering, all three accused one count of obstructing or defeating the course of justice or attempting to do so, while Manga alone faces one count of contravening the Value Added Tax Act.
The prosecution says all charges emanate from the falsification of 80 invoices worth N$2 088 071 for advertising services.
According to court documents, between April 1, 2013, and March 17, 2017, Mukena and her co-accused allegedly defrauded Multi-Choice Namibia.
The documents further state that over a period of three years, the trio falsified 80 invoices and enticed the television company to pay for advertising services that were never rendered by state-owned newspaper, Kundana (PTY) Ltd.
Allegedly, the invoices were presented with banking details but not of Kundana (PTY) Ltd and, as such, the payments were made into the accused accounts.
The Mukena are represented by Kalundu Kamwi and Antonio by Mbanga Siyomunji.
Nawa-Mukena and Antonio are free on bail while Mukena is free on warning.