WINDHOEK - Recordings obtained by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of conversations between Daniel David Nghiwilepo, 42, and a former registry clerk at the Ministry of Finance, 39-year-old Veronika Kituna Thomas – who admitted that she stole several cheques meant for the Ministry of Finance and gave it to Nghiwilepo – is being disputed in the corruption trial of Cameroonian-born businessman Antoine ‘Tony’ Mbok, 38, and Nghiwilepo.
Mbok, his corporation MFinance and Namibian national Nghiwilepo face 10 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering involving N$3.9 million in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Nate Ndauendapo.
The State alleges that between January, 25, 2010 and February, 18, 2010, five cheques destined for the account of the Ministry of Finance were intercepted and deposited into Mbok’s company’s account.
The affected companies and entities in the alleged fraud comprises GS Fainsinger and Associates (N$121 212.42), the Ministry of Health and Social Services / Global Fund (N$228 494.61) Edu-Loan (now Letshego Financial Services Namibia) (N$62 905.13), Kalahari Sands Hotel and Casino (N$202 530.08), Afrisam Cement (N$3 329 489.40).
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges at the start of their trial in 2015.
Thomas pleaded guilty to five counts of corruptly using her office at the Ministry of Finance and her position for self-gratification at the start of the trial before High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on February 10, 2012 and sentenced to an effective eight years’ imprisonment. She was released last year. Yesterday Thomas informed Judge Ndauendapo that after she became a born-again Christian in 2010, she approached the ACC to help her gather evidence against Nghiwilepo to prove her allegations against him.
“I wanted to stand for the truth”, she stated.
According to her after Nghiwilepo called her towards the end of March, 2010 and told her to “desist and lie” when the ACC questions her she called Justine Namukwambi at the ACC and asked her to give her something to prove that it was “Daniel” who was behind it all and made her do “this thing”.
She said that at the offices of the ACC she was introduced to senior investigator Phelem Masule who told her that they will provide her with a recording device to take with her when she visits Nghiwilepo.
She was then asked to call Nghiwilepo to ask if she could come to his office.
At the time Nghiwilepo was employed at Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
He agreed and she was fitted with the recording device.
At the offices, Thomas said, they had a long conversation and she informed him that she wanted to resign from her position as she was afraid the scam would come to light and she would be fired thereby losing her pension benefits.
He however told her not to resign and that if she did she will be identified as the one who stole the cheques.
He further told her that she must keep on denying the allegations, she said, and that he added that he has a ‘non-Oshiwambo speaking partner who is currently in custody, but once he is released he will sort her out’.
At that stage, Advocate Louis Botes who is representing Nghiwilepo on instructions of Boris Isaacks objected and said that the testimony of the witness if allowed to continue will defeat the purpose of the trial-within-a-trial.
The court agreed and instructed State Advocate Simba Nduna to refrain the witness from divulging the contents of the conversations she had with Nghiwilepo.
Thomas then said that she had two further meetings with Nghiwilepo which she had recorded before she was sent to prison.