Kandara’s wife cross-examined in High Court

The wife of the late Lazarus Kandara testified in the N.dollars 30 million Avid Investment Asset Management Company and Social Security Commission (SCC) fraud trial here on Monday.

Christophine Ndapewa Kandara went on the witness stand before Judge John Liebenberg in the Windhoek High Court, where seven former AVID directors stand accused of fraud.

The seven accused are Windhoek-based businessman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Namangol Asset Management Company Nicolaas Josea; former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Paulus Iilonga Kapia; Avid Investment’s Administrative Secretary Inez //Gases; former Acting Secretary-General of the National Youth Council (NYC) Ralph Blaauw and his wife Sharon Blaauw.

The other two suspects are Labour Ministry official and lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, and Brigadier Mathias Shiweda.

Avid Investment CEO, the late Kandara, was believed to be the kingpin in the Avid/SCC saga, and is said to have committed suicide while under police escort in front of the Windhoek police station during the inquiry.

Kandara said during her cross-examination that she had never met the directors of her late husband’s company when it was established, except for her sister-in-law Inez //Gases, who was Avid Investment’s Administrative Secretary.

She first met some of them in 2005 on instruction from her husband.

Kandara said she had received between N.dollars 220 000 and N.dollars 240 000 from Josea after her husband, who was in South Africa at the time, instructed her to accept the money from him.

According to her, she was then ordered by her late husband to give Kapia, Blaauw and Podewiltz N.dollars 40 000 each, but only Blaauw and Podewiltz came to collect the money – about five to 10 minutes after Josea had left her house.

“I gave Ralph Kapia’s N.dollars 40 000 and Shiweda only came to collect his money on Sunday. I did not give them Shiweda’s money because my husband said he did not trust them with Shiweda’s money,” Kandara told the court.

She further said Josea presented her with a document to sign, confirming that the transaction had taken place.

However, the document stated that she had received N.dollars 300 000.

“I disputed signing the document, but he convinced me into signing the document and I signed it. When my husband called me later that evening from South Africa, I told him about it and he said he would take care of it,” said Kandara.

She added that her husband also instructed her to open a ‘Call Account’ with N.dollars 7 000 at Bank Windhoek, which she did. Her husband did not tell her why she had to open the account and why he could not open it himself.

“The money I opened the account with was my husband’s, but the account I took the money from to open the call account was in my name. My husband had no accounts,” Kandara related.

However, upon further cross examination by the defence lawyers, she told the court that she had opened the account with N.dollars 10 000.

Defence Lawyer Jan Wessels, who also cross-examined Kandara, said as a teacher and educated woman, she should have asked the third, fifth and sixth accused persons to sign a document showing that she had indeed given them the money.

“I cannot believe that you gave N.dollars 120 000 cash to people you don’t know without having a document ready for them to sign.

Today, it is your word against a number of people in the accused box,” Wessels said.

Defence lawyers Sisa Namandje, Christie Mostert, Werner Boesak and Slysken Makando are defending the seven accused persons, while Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondedze, assisted by State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi, are appearing for the State.

The case was postponed to Tuesday morning for further cross-examinations.