Trevor Brockerhoff, who represented four of the accused in the just-ended tax fraud trial, lodged an application for leave to appeal their convictions and sentence yesterday. Windhoek High Court acting judge Kobus Miller concluded the trial on Friday, and sentenced all the convicted persons to jail terms ranging from five to 18 years.
The main accused, Mamsy Nuuyoma (33) received the highest term of imprisonment of 18 years while her former boyfriend, Boykie Naukosho, one of Brockerhoff’s clients, was sentenced to five years for a conviction on money laundering. The other clients of Brockerhoff, Aurelio Nelson Miapia, Cativa Cupessala and Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, were sentenced to 10 years, four years and three years, respectively.
Brockerhoff claims in court papers that Miller erred in law and fact by finding that the documentary evidence relied upon to convict was properly before court, and convicted them on some counts where some of the witnesses relevant to those counts did not testify. He further said the court was wrong in confirming the admissibility of documents, which were clearly unconstitutionally obtained, and by finding that the amounts as alleged in the indictment were actually stolen, whereas no evidence as to amounts lost and/or paid to the applicants was produced.
He further argued that the court was wrong in finding that it was unnecessary and/or irrelevant for the customs officials and/or clearing agents to testify in the face of evidence placed before the court that goods were purchased in Namibia and properly exported.
Brockerhoff also claimed that Miller erred when he rejected the applicants’ versions that they exported the goods purchased, where no credible evidence was presented to controvert that assertion. The sentences imposed in the prevailing circumstances are also shockingly inappropriate, and the court unjustifiably overemphasised the seriousness of the offences at the expense of mitigating circumstances. The lawyer added that the court paid mere lip-service to the period spent in trial-awaiting detention by the applicants.
The other Angolans convicted in the trial were Joao Manuel dos Santos, who was sentenced to 14 years, and Zimutu Pembele, who got a jail term of seven years. Further sentences imposed were jail terms of five years for Benvindo Momafuba and Malaquias Tomas Rufino each, a four-year prison term for Isaac Cativa Cupessala, three years in prison for Carlos Victor Eliseu and two-year jail terms for Joaquim Pedro Espanhol and Carlos Feliciano Tchinduku.
More than N$26,4 million was paid out as a result of the fraudulent claims.
The false VAT refund claims were submitted to Aveshe Consulting by Angolan citizens who used forged documents – including invoices from retailers and customs declaration forms – to claim they had bought goods in Namibia and were exporting them to Angola.
The other accused were represented by defence lawyers Winnie Christians, Kalundu Kamwi, Marvin Katuvesirauina, Mekumbu Tjiteere and Theo Carolus.