Dresselhaus sentenced to pay N$200 000 fine

WINDHOEK: Local businessman Heinz Dresselhaus was on Tuesday sentenced to pay a fine of N.dollars 200 000.

The Windhoek-based Dresselhaus was sentenced to pay the fine after he had earlier pleaded guilty to 19 charges of fraud in connection with the corrupt and fraudulent sale of scrap copper materials belonging to Telecom Namibia.

High Court Judge Collins Parker handed down the punishment.

Dresselhaus was ordered to pay the fine in full through the Registrar of the Windhoek High Court before or on 30 June this year at 16h00.

This decision was taken as per an agreement reached by Dresselhaus’ defence lawyer, Senior Counsel Willie Vermeulen and State representative, Chief Prosecutor Danie Small in court today.

Earlier reports by local English daily The Namibian had it that the other member of the close corporation, Ettienne Weakley and former Telecom Namibia Manager James Camm, who faced similar charges as their co-accused Dresselhaus, were found not guilty on all counts after the State closed its case against the three.

At the time, Small had conceded that the charges against Weakley and Camm had not been proven beyond reasonable doubts.

Initially, the three men were charged in their personal capacities when they pleaded not guilty to 30 charges of fraud at the start of the trial in 2008.

However, with the resumption of the trial earlier this month, Small amended the indictment against the three men to have Dresselhaus and Weakley charged in their capacities as representatives of Dresselhaus Scrap CC (close corporation) as well.

This development then forced Dresselhaus to offer a guilty plea on behalf of the close corporation.

According to the newspaper reports, the charges were based on allegations that Dresselhaus Scrap CC paid bribes and kick-backs to Camm and a former procurement Manager of Telecom Namibia, Ivan Ganes, and defrauded Telecom Namibia of close to N.dollars 1,2 million between late 1998 and early 2001.

At the time, the Dresselhaus Scrap CC had an exclusive contract to buy scrap copper materials from the telecommunications parastatal.

Ganes was sentenced to an effective two-year-prison term and a fine of N.dollars 100 000 in June 2005, after he had pleaded guilty to 13 counts of fraud in connection with the scrap copper transactions between Telecom Namibia and Dresselhaus Scrap CC.

He had served his full sentence and later returned to the Windhoek High Court to testify as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Dresselhaus, Weakley and Camm.

Telecom Namibia had also sued Dresselhaus Scrap CC for more than N.dollars 9 million in a civil case which was settled when the CC agreed to pay the parastatal N.dollars 2,4 million.

Dresselhaus Scrap CC was reportedly a successful business, but it was ruined by the scrap copper sale scam.