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One person charged in GIPF debacle

2019-08-22  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

One person charged in GIPF debacle
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WINDHOEK – Prosecutor General (PG) Martha Imalwa yesterday confirmed that one person – whose identity she withheld – has been charged under the Insolvency Act and also with fraud into the missing millions of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF).

The person is scheduled to appear in the Oshakati Regional Court on October 3, the PG said at a rare press conference yesterday.

It is believed up to N$660 million, which the fund originally disbursed through its now defunct Development Capital Portfolio (DCP) to various entities as investment into varying business portfolios, was never traced.
“The suspect has not appeared in court as yet, [so] I am not inclined to mention his name. He has been summoned and is due to appear [in court],” she told a fully-packed media conference yesterday.
Recently, Imalwa has come under fire for her perceived relaxed stance on the GIPF matter, one of the biggest financial scandals that post-independence Namibia has seen.

She said the GIPF marathon investigation was focused on 20 entities. One docket is still under consideration by her office and a decision – whether to prosecute or not – will be made in a due course.
Startlingly, her office has declined to prosecute on 18 of the dockets for reasons varying from there being no criminal offence that was committed on the one hand, to there being insufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case against those entities or their representative individuals.

These entities, she said, were beneficiaries of a loan scheme by the GIPF for purposes of stimulating the growth of their businesses.

Contrary to media reports that the case has been on for over 10 years, Imalwa said the case was opened in 2009 but investigations only started in earnest in 2012.

“The information that has been circulating in the media that the GIPF dockets are gathering dust for ten years in my office is devoid of any truth and was created by people who want to tarnish my name,” she said.

Imalwa says the case was a prosecutor-guided investigation, meaning the dockets are moved between her office and the investigating officers.

“My office was not in a position to make any decision in any of the dockets before finalisation of the investigation,” Imalwa stressed while trying to explain why the case has taken this long.
She clarified that during the second half of 2014, some investigations were finalised resulting in her office also to commence the process of decision-making.

“It should be noted that this remaining docket is bulky and it involves complex legal issues which require to be tackled with due care and diligence,” she observed.

She said the investigation faced some challenges, among others the period of time that lapsed from the time the loans were applied for and granted and subsequent investigations. Most documentary evidence could not be located.

Also, she said the task of the investigators was made difficult because of the changes in staff at the GIPF.
“Those who were involved with the applications and approval of loans, especially the trustees, have indicated that with the absence of documents to refresh their memories they have no independent recollection of what transpired during the deliberations relating to the granting of those loans,” she said.
Similarly, she said some of the relevant people who could have shed some light on some of the matters have since died.

“In the circumstances most decisions not to prosecute were based on the fact that there was insufficient evidence on which a prosecution could be initiated at all in the first place,” she said.
Furthermore, Imalwa also clarified the Social Security Commission (SSC) and Avid matters.
She said there is a perception by many that these are two separate cases and hence one still remains unsolved.

“Avid was a company that, through its directors and their business associates, solicited money from SSC ostensibly for the purpose of investing the money on behalf of the SCC for high interest returns within a relatively short period of time,” she explained.

“The fate of the money is now public knowledge. There was no other case involving the SSC that was brought to my office hence there were no two separate cases,” she added. 
In the SME bank case, Imalwa said the case is still under investigation and has not yet been handed over to her office for a decision.

On the ODC matter, she said the case was handled by her office and on numerous occasion there were reports in the media.



2019-08-22  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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