Cement Fraud Trial Stuck At the Start

THE case in which six people are accused of having defrauded cement company AfriSam Namibia to the tune of N$77 million remains stuck at the starting line in the Windhoek High Court.

A week after the trial of the six accused could not begin as planned because two of the accused – brothers Calvin and Gerald Bezuidenhout – were without legal representation, the two men were still not represented by defence lawyers when they and their co-accused made another appearance before Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday.

The Bezuidenhouts told the judge on Tuesday last week that they applied with the Directorate of Legal Aid to be provided with legal representation only a day earlier – about three months after the lawyer who previously represented them withdrew from the case.

The directorate has indicated that it did not have a record of legal aid applications from the Bezuidenhouts, Judge Liebenberg informed the men yesterday.

He aised them to return to the directorate and to submit new applications if their previous ones could not be traced.

The two men, a former employee of AfriSam Namibia, Esmerelda Martina Majiedt (49), a Rundu-based businessman, Daniel Baptista De Jesus, Majiedt’s sister, Louise Izaaks, and James Wilson were supposed to go on trial before Judge Liebenberg last week.

As a result of the Bezuidenhouts’ problem with legal representation, two weeks that have been reserved for the trial on the court calendar in September will go unused.

The six accused are supposed to make another appearance in the High Court on 20 October for the judge to be informed if the brothers have received legal aid and when they will be ready for the start of their trial.

The six accused are charged in connection with allegations that Majiedt committed fraud to the tune of N$77 million against AfriSam Namibia during the period of January 2006 to the end of January 2011.

Majiedt allegedly committed the offences by providing cement to customers of AfriSam Namibia and then receiving payment for the cement in her personal capacity and without the payment being channelled to the company.

The prosecution is alleging that she sold cement with a total value of N$37,8 million to De Jesus, and also sold cement valued at N$15,1 million to the Bezuidenhouts.

It is also alleged that Majiedt used a close corporation of Izaaks and Wilson as a trading vehicle through which she sold cement stolen from AfriSam, and that she, her sister and Wilson committed money laundering when she used a bank account of the close corporation and a personal bank account of Izaaks to receive money paid to her for the stolen cement.

Majiedt is facing 628 charges, consisting of 624 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, three counts of money laundering under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and one charge of bribery in terms of the Anti-Corruption Act.

In the alternative charges of theft it is alleged that she stole cement worth N$77 million from AfriSam Namibia.

De Jesus is charged with 165 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, two counts of bribery, and one charge of money laundering, while the Bezuidenhouts face 234 charges of fraud, alternatively theft, two counts of bribery, and one charge of money laundering.

Izaaks faces one charge of fraud and two counts of money laundering, and Wilson is charged with one count of fraud and one count of money laundering.

The six accused are all free on bail.

Source : The Namibian