WINDHOEK - An application to appeal the decision by Acting Windhoek High Court Judge Kobus Miller not to recuse himself from the trial of a woman accused of defrauding Multichoice Namibia was heard yesterday.
Manga Nawa-Mukena, 37, her husband Joseph Mukena, 43 and a friend Celestino Gabriel Antonio, 37 wanted the judge to remove himself from their trial for alleged bias as he was supposed to be the mediator in a civil matter involving Nawa-Mukena and the television company.
The mediation however never took place and the judge refused the recusal application on the grounds that he had no insight in the matter.
The State through Advocate Salomon Kanyemba opposed the application.
They are now seeking leave to appeal that decision in the Supreme Court.
Judge Miller indicated that he will deliver his ruling on the application on June 12.
The Mukena and Antonio are facing charges of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering, forgery and uttering of a forged document, contravening the Organised Crime Act, obstructing or defeating the course of justice or attempting to do so and contravening the Value Added Tax Act trial.
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 a second count of forgery and uttering a forged document, the Mukena’s 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 scheme ran from April 2013 to March 2017 according to the State.
According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, the Mukena were at all relevant and material times married in community of property and Antonio a close friend of the couple.
Also during the relevant times, Manga was employed by Multi Choice Namibia (MCN) as marketing manager responsible for the effective management of the marketing, advertising and promotional activities of the television company.
Being the sales and marketing manager, she was responsible for the placements of advertisements of MCN’s current and new product concepts in the newspapers and other media establishments as well as for the approving and or submitting all supplier invoices to MCN for processing and payment, the indictment reads.
It further stated Manga had taken advantage of the situation and initiated a fraudulent scheme wherein she would draw up falsified supplier tax invoices reflecting the name of the Kundana weekly newspaper published by New Era Publications Corporation for advertisements purportedly placed in the weekly.
It is further alleged that after the arrest of Manga, she and her husband approached Antonio in order to misrepresent to MCN that he owned a company called “KundanaNam (pty) Ltd” which had rendered the marketing services in question and that all the payments were made to the said “KundanaNam”.
The State alleges that MCN suffered a loss of N$2 088 071 as a result of the fraudulent and money laundering scheme perpetrated by the three accused.
The Mukena are represented by Orben Sibeya and Antonio by Mbanga Siyomunji.
Nawa-Mukena and Antonio are free on bail while Mukena is free on a warning.