Ex-Outjo Treasurer’s Sentencing Shifted to July

THE sentencing of former Outjo town treasurer Dawid Koen, who has admitted that he set an office building on fire in an attempt to conceal his theft of close to N$1,2 million from his employer, has been postponed to mid-July.

Koen’s sentencing on 60 counts of theft and charges of arson and defeating or obstructing the course of justice was scheduled to take place in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

However, Judge Alfred Siboleka told Koen (54) that due to other commitments he was not yet ready with the sentence. As a result, the sentencing was postponed to 15 July.

Koen has been kept in custody since 30 May, which was when Judge Siboleka heard final oral arguments before his sentencing. He had pleaded guilty to charges of arson and defeating or obstructing the course of justice and 60 counts of theft two and a half weeks earlier. Koen admitted that during the time that he was employed as strategic executive officer or town treasurer at the Outjo Municipality he had stolen a total of N$1,19 million from the municipality. His explanation for the theft was that he was experiencing financial difficulties at the time and thought that he would be able to replace the money he had taken at the end of each month.

He managed to replace the money for two or three months, but then started to lose control of the situation, he told the court. With that, the amount of money that he was stealing from his employer started to balloon until it reached a total of close to N$1,2 million. Koen was initially charged with 112 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, involving a total amount of N$1,74 million. That fraud or theft was alleged to have been committed during the period from March 2007 to August 2009.

In his plea in the High Court Koen also admitted that he set offices of the Outjo Municipality on fire on 17 August 2009 in an attempt to destroy evidence of the theft he had been committing.

Koen told the court that he was in a deep state of depression and confusion and was planning to commit suicide after setting the building on fire. He did not manage to gather enough courage to go through with that plan, though, he said.

Koen had been employed with the Outjo Municipality since 2000.

He is being represented by defence lawyer Jan Wessels. State aocate Ed Marondedze is representing the prosecution.

Source : The Namibian