Avid Not Approved By Minister

Avid Investments, a rookie entity with which the Social Security Commission (SSC) controversially invested N$30 million, was not among the list of companies approved by the minister of labour for consideration.

Former SSC CEO Tuli Hiveluah revealed this in the High Court yesterday during cross-examination by Sisa Namandje the defence lawyer of one of the accused in the Avid-SSC trial, Swapo parliamentarian Paulus Kapia.

Kapia, a former deputy minister of works, is charged with fraud, or alternatively theft and other charges related to a repealed Companies Act.

Kapia is the main accused in the trial together with Inez Gases, lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, Ralph and Sharon Blaauw, retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and Nico Josea.

Namandje started off by asking Hiveluah – a holder of two Master’s degrees – if he agrees that he a well-educated and experienced man, having previously worked as a permanent secretary in the ministry of works.

Hiveluah, who said he has struggled to find a job after the SSC-Avid saga, insisted that he had always acted in the best interest of the SSC during his time at the company.

“I had to leave because the commissioners lost their trust in me,” he told the court.

He further said that he decided to leave on his own as his “integrity was compromised”.

During his evidence in chief, Hiveluah said that before Kapia approached him with the idea of investing with Avid, he had never heard of Avid before.

He further stated that after he wrote a letter to Avid to invite them to tender, he left the rest in the hands of his management team, including Gideon Mulder and Avril Green. Both Mulder and Green have already concluded their testimonies in the matter.

The only other time Hiveluah got involved in the matter was when he, Mulder and Green paid a visit to Kapia on 24 January, 2005, he said.

During that meeting they wanted to clarify some issues regarding the involvement of Lazarus Kandara (late) in Avid and also to find out who the directors and shareholders in the entity were, Hiveluah testified.

He further said that Sharon Blaauw, Podewiltz, Gases and Kapia were identified as directors of the company. According to him Kapia denied that Kandara was a director or even CEO of Avid, emphasising that he (Kandara) merely acted as a aisor on investment matters.

He further denied knowing Alan Rosenberg, saying he only heard later when the money was already invested that Rosenberg was a partner in Avid.

He also denied ever hearing of Josea’s firm, Namangol Investments, and said that the first time he heard that name was when they were in court to try and recover the N$30 million from Avid.

According to Hiveluah, he at all times believed that the money was invested according to Avid’s submissions, but it seemed that some “underhand and fraudulent activities” were at play. He said the N$30 million was to be invested in a fixed interest-bearing account for four months and was supposed to returned on 28 May 2005 with accrued interest. This however never materialised, Hiveluah stated. “I don’t know where or if the money was invested,” he told Judge Christi Liebenberg.

Source : New Era