Teko trio headed for acquittal? … State concedes 14 of 18 charges were unproven
WINDHOEK - State Advocate Dominic Lisulo yesterday conceded that the prosecution did not prove 14 of the 18 charges that Teckla Lameck and her co-accused Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fan faced in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Christi Liebenberg.
This came after Sisa Namandje on behalf of the accused applied for their discharge in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which makes provision for an accused to apply for his discharge after the state closed its case and did not produce sufficient evidence to convict.
According to Namandje, the state’s case is weak and not worth the time and effort, it took to bring it to court.
Lisulo conceded that the state failed to prove its case with regards to counts 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 to 18, but argued that enough evidence was adduced in relation to counts 3 to 5 which is contravening the Immigration Control Act and count 10 which relates to Lameck failing to get authorization from the State President to do remunerative work outside the scope of her office while she was still the chairperson of the Public Service Commission.
Namandje called the arguments of the state counsel weak and said that they are now grasping at straw to save face.
With regards to the charge under count 10, he said that the prosecutor-general’s office laboured under a “wrong misconception” that the Act is all-encompassing when it described the requirements for remunerative work outside the scope of office.
He said the Act makes provision for one to perform remunerative work outside the scope of one’s office and does not prohibit it.
With regards to the office of the public service commission, he said, it is nowhere stated that a person must obtain written approval from the president, only that permission must be obtained.
In any event, Namandje stated, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who was in charge at the time of Lameck’s tenure as chairperson of the commission was well aware that she did other work beside her work at the commission and himself appointed her to various boards such as Namdeb and Namibia Contract Haulage.
With regards to the immigration charges, Namandje said the state’s case is bleeding profusely and nothing untoward was proved against any of his clients.
According to him, the evidence of the state witnesses who testified in relation to these charges effectively exonerated his clients as they all testified that everything was done above board.
With regards to these charges, Lisulo belatedly applied to the court to amend the particulars of the charges to charge the accused under the correct section of the Immigration Control Act as they were indeed charged under the incorrect section as Namandje argued during the 174 application.
The judge however refused to entertain the application.
According to Namandje, the prosecution had a whole year to amend the charges which they failed to do, and now at the very last minute wants the court to allow them an irregularity.
The charges under counts 4 and 5 deal with unlawfully aiding and/or abetting a foreigner to be employed or conduct business unlawfully in Namibia and the state relied on the section that is reserved for employers which do not relate to any of the accused, Namandje argued.
Lameck, her business partner in Teko Trading Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fan were accused of duping government through the Ministry of Finance to pay an inflated price of US$55 348 800 for scanners to be used at airports and border posts.
In fact, the state alleges, the price was inflated with an amount of US$12 828 800 meant as ‘commission’ for Teko Trading who facilitated the transaction.
Lameck and Mokaxwa alone faces charges that they, while Mokaxwa was employed there and Lameck was the board chairman of Swapo owned company, Namib Contract Haulage, duped the company into buying them four tipper trucks valued at US$144 000.
The other charges - Lameck faced 18, Mokaxwa 12 and Yang six - relates to transgressions of the Immigration Control Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and further contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act.
Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang denied guilt on the charges they face at the start of their new trial after three judges of the Supreme Court upheld their suspicion of bias against the judge that presided over their original trial, Maphios Cheda, removed him from the trial and replaced him with Judge Liebenberg.
Judge Liebenberg reserved his judgment on the discharge application to October 25 at 10h00.
Lameck and Mokaxwa are free on bail of N$50 000 each while Yang is on bail of N$1 million.
2019-09-12 07:42:38 11 days ago