Roland Routh Windhoek-The Office of the Prosecutor-General is appealing the acquittal of two men implicated in a multi-million-dollar scam involving building material giant Pupkewitz Megabuild and northern business mogul, Bennie Hauwanga. Acting Judge Petrus Unengu found the two men, Immanuel Freitas Dias and Edgar Cardoso Alves not guilty on a host of fraud, alternatively theft, charges at the end of their trial in October 2014. Dias was, however, convicted on a charge of theft for removing building materials worth N$239 054 from the Oshikango branch of Pupkewitz where he was employed as branch manager. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment of which three years were suspended. Dias served his sentence. Alves was convicted on the same charge of theft and one count of fraud and sentenced to five years with three years suspended. He is currently missing and a warrant for his arrest was issued in June this year when the appeal was initially launched and was made with immediate effect on Monday when the appeal was heard. In their appeal, the State argued that Judge Unengu did not apply his mind properly to the evidence of Hauwanga, who seems to be the victim of the alleged fraudulent actions. Dias, Alves and a third accused, Mark Paul Alves, pleaded not guilty to 139 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, and two further charges of theft when their trial started before Acting Judge Unengu at the start of their trial. After the close of the prosecution’s case, Mark Alves was found not guilty after Judge Unengu found that none of the State witnesses linked him to any of the offences. Leaving Dias and Alves to face the music. They were accused of having defrauded Pupkewitz Megabuild and Hauwanga of more than N$5.2 million while employed at Pupkewitz Megabuild’s Oshikango branch. It was further alleged they stole building material valued at about N$823 000 from the company between August 2007 and March 2008. Dias was the manager of the Oshikango branch of Pupkewitz Megabuild at that time. In the disputed judgment, Unengu found that Hauwanga was a poor witness who was contradicted by other State witnesses. The Prosecutor-General’s Officer, however, argues that the Judge did not consider his (Hauwanga) explanations on how he operates his business with an open mind. According to Deputy Prosecutor General, Ingrid Husselman, the Judge made non-credible findings on the way the businessman conducted his affairs, which was not his domain. She further said he did not consider all the circumstantial evidence in its totality. Advocate Slysken Makando, who appeared on behalf of Dias, vehemently denied the Judge erred when he found the State failed to prove the allegations against his client. According to Makando, the Judge made the only finding he could in the circumstances. Advocate Zagrys Grobler appeared for Alves. Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb together with Judges of Appeal Elton Hoff and Sylvester Mainga reserved their judgment.
2017-10-04 09:32:44 11 months ago