The lawyer of former Roads Contractor Company CEO Kelly Nghixulifwa yesterday told a witness in the long-running B1 City fraud trial that his client was unaware of a facilitation fee of N$150 000 that was paid to Cradle Investments.
Lawyer Veikko Alexander told Philip Main – who was the quantity surveyor for the construction of the RCC head office – that Nghixulifwa has denied knowing or approving the facilitation fee to Cradle Investments.
Cradle Investments belongs to Hafeni Nghinamwaami (52), who is the third accused in the matter represented by Trevor Brockerhoff.
The 60-year-old Nghixulifwa and Nghinamwaami are facing charges of fraud and contravening the Anti-Corruption Act together with 54-year-old Anna Ndoroma.
At the centre of the matter is a loan of N$4.8-million that Nghixulifwa allegedly secured for Ae//Gams Engineering to purchase Erf 10485 along Independence Avenue, without declaring his interests in the company.
Nghixulifwa, who resigned after the ambitious supposed construction of B1 City opposite the Katutura state hospital went belly-up, is facing 11 charges of fraud and contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, while Ndoroma and Nghinamwaami face four counts.
Main had testified about a facilitation fee of N$150 000 that was allegedly paid to Nghinamwaami for bringing RCC and Murray & Roberts, who constructed the head office, together.
It is alleged by the State that Nghixulifwa conspired with Ndoroma and Nghinamwaami to defraud RCC and Murray & Roberts of N$150 000 in the guise that Cradle Investment – belonging to Nghinamwaami and where Ndoroma was his nominee shareholder – was a project manager in the construction of RCC headquarters.
Main told the court that during the first claims Murray & Roberts made during 2004, an amount of N$150 000 as a once-off payment was claimed as a ‘facilitation fee’.
He said that when he queried this with Murray & Roberts, he was told the money was for reimbursement for money the contractor paid to Cradle Investments on the insistence of Nghixulifwa.
He further said he was provided with a cancelled cheque of Murray & Roberts as proof.
According to Main, he was told that Cradle Investments was responsible for bringing RCC and Murray & Roberts together, and that he wanted to be compensated for this role.
Brockerhoff wanted to know from Main if he knew whether the facilitation fee that was paid to his client was an agreement between him and Murray & Roberts or between Murray & Roberts and RCC.
Main indicated that since he was not part of the negotiations, he cannot deny nor confirm any of it.
Brockerhoff then told Main that his instructions from his client are that during July/August 2004, he picked up an expression of interest by RCC that they are looking for a large construction company to form a joint venture to construct its head office and he engaged RCC with the prospect of forming the JV, introducing them to Murray & Roberts in the process.
Silas Kishi-Shakumu on behalf of Ndoroma had no questions for Main.
The accused have pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of their trial.
The trial is continuing before Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg.