WINDHOEK - The trial of two Namibians and 12 Angolans accused of defrauding the Namibian Government to the tune of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia was postponed on Friday as the judge involved in the matter fell ill.
The accused were told to come back on August 19 to hear the status of their hearing and possibly get new dates for their trial.
If High Court Acting Judge Kobus Miller does not recover to continue with the trial, a new judge will have to be appointed and the matter started afresh.
All the accused pleaded not guilty to 629 counts of fraud alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent before Judge Miller and his two assessors, John Mandy and Yolande Böttger at the start of their trial earlier this year.
The amount involved in the massive value-added tax (VAT) fraud scam has almost doubled from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million, it emerged from the indictment document.
It is alleged that the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim VAT refunds from the Ministry of Finance.
The accused are Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma (28), a Namibian citizen who worked at Aveshe Consultancy, the company managing VAT refunds on behalf of the ministry at the time the fraud cases were committed, who is facing 626 counts including defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice in addition to the other charges. It is alleged that she stole more than N$3.3 million in cahoots with Lukau Nestor (56), an Angolan citizen who absconded after getting bail. The second accused is Angolan citizen Benvindo Momafuba (48), who is facing 18 charges amounting to N$1.7 million. The third accused is Pembele Zimutu (52), Angolan, facing 48 counts totalling N$11.3 million. No 4 is Joaquim Pedro Espanhol (35), Angolan, facing nine counts totalling N$947 399.90. Accused 5 is Joao Manuel Dos Santos (38), Angolan facing 149 counts amounting to N$172.5 million. Accused 6 is Tatiana Luquena Muchado Gonga (28), an Angolan who is facing one count of money laundering. Accused 7 is Carlos Victor Elisea (33), Angolan, facing six counts totalling N$2.9 million. Accused eight is 43-year old Angolan Isaac Cativa Cupessala facing 50 counts amounting to N$3.1 million. Accused nine is Paquete Americo Kapayole Jose, Angolan, facing 14 counts totalling N$1.19 million. Malakias Tomas Rufine (29) is accused 10 facing 18 counts amounting to N$2 million. Accused number 11 is Carlos Feleciano Tchinduku (27), Angolan, facing five counts amounting to N$489 212.40. Accused number 12 is Miapa Aurelio Nelson (32), Angolan, facing 61 counts totalling N$4.6 million. Accused number 13 is Lucio Jose Cazembe (43), Angolan, face 157 counts amounting to N$7.4 million.
Accused number 14 is Noah Boykie Naukosho (28), Namibian facing six counts amounting to N$2.4 million.
Each accused will be prosecuted on certain accusations only, according to the charge sheet.
Advocate Winnie Christiaans is representing Nuuyoma, Vetu Uanivi is on record for Nestor, Momafuba and Eliseu; Trevor Brockerhoff for Zimutu, Cupessala, Jose and Nelson; Theo Carollus for Gonga and Rufine and Mekumbu Tjiteere for Tchinduku and Cazembe, Kalundu Kamwi is representing Dos Santos, while Naukosho is representing himself.
All the accused except Nuuyoma, Nestor, Momafuba, Zimutu, Gonga, Cupessala, Cazembe and Naukosho are in custody.