Lawyer Gets Credit for Kapia From Witness

SWAPO member of parliament Paulus Kapia did not ask a former senior manager at the Social Security Commission not to follow proper procedures when he tried to persuade the SSC to invest N$30 million with a company of which he was a director,

a witness in the trial of Kapia and six co-accused has acknowledged in the Windhoek High Court.

The witness, former senior SSC manager Avril Green, also acknowledged that there was nothing sinister in the fact that he had a meeting with Kapia at the Swapo Party head office in Windhoek, rather than at his own office, when an unproven asset management company, Avid Investment Corporation, was being introduced to him and the SSC in early 2005.

Testifying under cross-examination from Kapia’s defence lawyer, Sisa Namandje, on Tuesday, Green further agreed that nobody tried to portray to the SSC that Avid had a long track record in dealing with investments.

Green was the SSC’s general manager of finance when the parastatal’s top management decided to invest N$30 million with Avid in January 2005. The money was supposed to be invested for a period of four months only, but at the end of the investment period Avid failed to repay the N$30 million and promised interest earnings of about N$1,4 million to the SSC.

That failure has led to the trial in which Kapia, who was a director of Avid, and six co-accused – including three other former directors of the company – are in the dock before Judge Christie Liebenberg. They are charged with fraud, alternatively theft, and other charges in connection with the alleged embezzlement of the money that the SSC invested with Avid.

One of the allegations that the prosecution is making in the indictment setting out the charges against Kapia and his co-accused is a claim that they gave out to the SSC and its management, including Green, that Avid “was an established investment company with a proven investment track record”.

Green agreed with Namandje that nobody pretended to the SSC that Avid had a proven track record as an investment company, though. He added that since the SSC’s agreement with Avid was that the company would invest N$30 million on behalf of the parastatal in an interest-bearing account and that a bank guarantee would be provided to the SSC as a safeguard for the investment, he did not see the need to require that the company had to have a lot of experience to make such a straightforward investment.

Green has testified that one of Kapia’s co-accused, Ralph Blaauw, introduced him to Kapia at the Swapo head office in Katutura on 4 January 2005. He said that was a day after Blaauw had visited him at the SSC’s office in Windhoek to introduce Avid Investment Corporation to him and the SSC.

Green testified on Monday that Blaauw had introduced himself as a member of parliament and had said that he had been sent to the SSC by “higher authority”. He also told the court that Blaauw had said the Swapo Party Youth League held 80 percent of the shareholding in Avid.

During Namandje’s cross-examination, Green added that Blaauw had further told him that the president – President Sam Nujoma at that time – also had a stake in Avid, but that would not be disclosed anywhere. Green first made that claim in an affidavit in August 2005.

“I did not lie about that. That was told to me by Mr Blaauw at the time,” he insisted when Namandje charged that Green had made such a claim in his affidavit in an effort to save his job in the wake of the fallout that enveloped him and other senior colleagues at the SSC after Avid had failed to return the parastatal’s money as promised.

Green declined making any comment when Namandje also told him that according to Kapia he never completely denied that the late Lazarus Kandara had been involved with Avid. According to Kapia he only denied that Kapia had been appointed as the chief executive officer of Avid, Namandje said.

Namandje further said that according to Kapia he had informed Green and his colleagues at the SSC that Kandara was acting as an investment aisor for Avid. He could not remember such a statement by Kapia, Green responded.

The court has heard that top managers in the SSC were not willing to do business with Kandara, due to earlier dealings he had with the parastatal.

Green, who was the prosecution’s second witness in the trial, completed his testimony yesterday, after three days on the witness stand. The trial is due to continue on Monday next week.

Source : The Namibian