WINDHOEK, 17 APR – Nineteen people arrested in December 2015 for alleged tax fraud involving N.dollars 114 million, are expected to make their first appearance in the High Court here on Thursday.
The fraud case was earlier this year transferred from the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to the High Court as per a decision taken by the Office of the Prosecutor-General (PG).
The group will appear for a pre-trial conference of case management in respect of their pending fraud trial.
Public Prosecutor Raisa Shafuda on 23 February 2018 informed the 19 suspects of the PG’s decision, after which Magistrate Alweendo Venatius issued an order for the transfer of the matter.
The 19 accused include three Namibians and 16 Angolan nationals.
All accused persons entered preliminary not guilty pleas to the charges against them on 21 June 2017.
The three Namibians are Joshua Hidinwa, Mamsy Nuuyoma and Noa Naukosho.
The 16 Angolan nationals are Lukau Nestor, Benvindo Momafuba, Pembele Zimutu, Paulo Kiala, Joaquim Espanhol, Joao Manuel dos Santos, Tatiana Gonga, Carlos Eliseu, Isaac Cupessala, Paquete Jose, Eugenio Pio Do Amaral Gourgel, Malakias Rufine, Paulino Natal, Carlos Tchinduku, Miapa Nelson and Lucio Cazembe.
The accused were arrested by investigators attached to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at the end of December 2015 for allegedly defrauding Government of about N.dollars 114 million through the Ministry of Finance over a few years.
The arrests followed investigations by the ACC between January 2014 and December 2015 at the request of the ministry into cases where value added tax (VAT) receipts were forged in order to claim refunds from the Receiver of Revenue.
The 19 accused are each charged with a count of conspiring to commit fraud, forgery and uttering; a count of corruptly using false documents and a charge of corruptly giving a false document to an agent of the company, Aveshe Consultancy – which manages VAT refunds on behalf of the finance ministry.
Local defence lawyers Orben Sibeya, Immanuel Udjombala, Leena Shikongo, Georgitta Losper, Titus Mbaeva, Mbushandje Nhinda, Kalundu Kamwi, Vetu Uanivi, Christian Nambahu, Ray Rukoro and George Neves are representing the accused persons.
They are all free on bail of between N.dollars 10 000 and N.dollars 50 000.