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‘State failed to prove VAT fraud claims’

2020-11-05  Roland Routh

‘State failed to prove VAT fraud claims’
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… lawyer argues facts not in evidence 

Roland Routh

Windhoek-based lawyer Trevor Brockerhoff yesterday told Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller exhibits in the ongoing value added tax (VAT) fraud trial were not proved properly before the court. 

According to Brockerhoff, the prosecutor in the matter, Henry Muhongo never formally applied to have the exhibits admitted into evidence as is court procedure.

He said this during submissions on the verdict to be delivered by Miller on the fraud, alternatively theft and money laundering trial involving two Namibians and 12 Angolan nationals.

All of the accused pleaded not guilty to 629 counts in the massive tax fraud scam in which the amount involved has more than doubled from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million. 
It is alleged the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim tax refunds from the Ministry of Finance. 

Each accused will be prosecuted on certain accusations only, according to the charge sheet.
Winnie Christiaans is representing Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma, a Namibian citizen who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, the company that managed VAT refunds on behalf of the ministry at the time the alleged crimes were committed.

She is facing 626 counts, including defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice in addition to the other charges. 
It is alleged she stole more than N$3.3 million in cahoots with Lukau Nestor (56), an Angolan citizen who absconded after getting bail. 
Christiaans told the court prosecution failed to show that his client is guilty of any of the offences. 
He said there is no direct evidence showing Nuuyoma knew the invoices and all related documents were falsified when she processed the claims.

Mekumbu Tjiteere, on behalf of Angolans Lucio Jose Cazembe and Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku, told the court that the State did not adduce enough evidence against his clients to warrant a conviction and asked the court to acquit them on all charges. Kalundu Kamwi, who is representing Joao Manuel Dos Santos, equally told the court his client is not guilty and prayed for acquittal. 
Theo Carolus, on behalf of Malakias Tomas Rufine, also asked the court to acquit his client on all charges, as the State failed to prove the charges.

Marven Katuvesirauina, who is on record for Benvindo Momafuba, Carlos Victor Elisea and Joaquim Pedro Espanhol, was of the opinion the State failed to present a viable case and asked the court to find his clients not guilty.
This will all be semantics, however, if the judge finds in favour of Brockerhoff’s argument that the exhibits are not properly admitted into evidence.

Brockerhoff, who is representing Pembele Zimutu, Isaac Cativa Cupessala, Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, Miapa Aurelio Nelson and Namibian Noah Boykie Naukosho, however, informed the court that should it not agree with his sentiments, he will demonstrate that the State, in any case, failed to prove the guilt of his clients.
The case is continuing today, with Brockerhoff to advance his argument on why his clients are not guilty.

2020-11-05  Roland Routh

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