Bank Records Admissible in Teko Case

Judge Maphios Cheda on Wednesday ruled that the state may introduce bank records as evidence in the massive scam trail involving former Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Teckla Lameck, her business partner, Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fan in the Windhoek High Court.

The defence team of Lameck and co-accused, led by Aocate Gerson Hinda SC and assisted by Aocate Gerson Narib on instructions from Sisa Namandje, in September last year, strenuously objected to the records being submitted as evidence. The defence alleged that the summonses used to obtain the bank statements did not comply with the Anti-Corruption Act, did not meet the requirement of being intelligible and that the constitutional rights of the accused were infringed upon when an investigator of the ACC, William Lloyd, used summonses issued by ACC Director Paulus Noa to gather evidence in the form of banking records. The state led by Deputy Prosecutor General, Aocate Danie Small and assisted by State Aocate Jack Eixab, however vehemently defended the admissibility of the bank records of Lameck, Mokaxwa and Fan.

Small argued before Judge Cheda that the Anti-Corruption Commission followed the correct procedures when they obtained the evidence against the ‘Teko Trio’.

“Taking into account the circumstances surrounding the investigations of this case, I am of the g view that a minor deprivation which has little effect on the broad conduct of the case and cases where the commission’s agents acted in good faith will probably be abandoned” the judge remarked. Judge Cheda also found that the Director of the ACC had a genuine belief based on credible information at hand that an offence had been committed.

He said that the warrants are clear as to what official needed to conduct such searches and that in his view the description is with “sufficient particularity to validate the issuance of the said warrants. According to Judge Cheda any individual’s right to privacy as enshrined in the constitution must always reign supreme except in cases where the interest of the proper administration of justice demand otherwise. He said that issues concerning search and seizure warrants should be within the precincts of the law and that an officer applying for such should only do so on credible information about the commission of an offence.

The objectives of a search and seizure warrant are aimed at furthering the interest of the proper administration of justice, but on the other hand, the judge said, the legal system of Namibia holds in high esteem the constitutional right of privacy of citizens. He said that this simply means that the courts in Namibia will employ a strict interpretation of the basis of the warrant for search and seizure. “Searches are allowed under strict limitations provided that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom and that it has to be done within the precincts of the law” the judge emphasised. The judge added that to determine whether reasonable grounds exist for a warrant, there should exist a set of facts which cause the officer or law enforcement agency to believe that an offence has been or is about to be committed. The warrants must be based on good facts and credible information and the officer must be able to show reasonable and probable cause to convince the magistrate to issue the warrant, Judge Cheda stressed. Lameck, Fan and Mokaxwa are accused of committing fraud amounting to millions of Namibian Dollars and the case will continue from August 07 to 29. They are all out on bail.

Source : New Era