Mbok Gets March 2015 Date

CAMEROONIAN Antoine Mbok and his Namibian co-accused, Daniel Nghiwilepo, have to wait a further 10 months before they go on trial in the Windhoek High Court on charges of corruption, theft and money laundering.

The two men’s trial is scheduled to start on 16 March next year, they were informed during a short appearance before Judge Naomi Shivute on Tuesday. Trial dates have been reserved on the court roll from 16 to 27 March and from 13 to 17 April 2015.

Mbok and Nghiwilepo were due to go on trial on Tuesday, but the start of their trial was postponed after Nghiwilepo asked Judge Nate Ndauendapo for a postponement to a date when his preferred defence counsel, Louis Botes, would be available.

Nghiwilepo, who is employed as a manager at Namibia Wildlife Resorts and Mbok are charged with five counts of corruption, alternatively theft, and five counts of money laundering. The charges are based on allegations that five cheques, with a total value of more than N$3,9 million, were stolen from the Ministry of Finance in January and February 2010 and deposited into the bank account of a company owned by Mbok, M Finance (Pty) Ltd.

Close to N$372 000 was withdrawn from the account before it was frozen due to an investigation into the theft of the cheques, which were supposed to be paid to the Ministry of Finance.

Mbok is charged both in his personal capacity and as a representative of M Finance.

He and Nghiwilepo were initially charged with another accused, Veronika Kituna Thomas, who was employed as a clerk with the Ministry of Finance at the time the cheques were stolen. In February 2012, when the three accused were first scheduled to go on trial in the High Court, Thomas pleaded guilty to five counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification.

Mbok and Nghiwilepo pleaded not guilty to all charges against them and their trial was then separated from that of Thomas.

Thomas told the court she was asked by Nghiwilepo, whom she said was a childhood friend, to steal the cheques. She said she gave the cheques to him, and claimed she never received any share of the money stolen in that way.

Thomas also told the court she did not know Mbok and did not know what Nghiwilepo had done with the cheques after she had given them to him.

She was sentenced to an effective eight years’ imprisonment in late March 2012.

In testimony given before she was sentenced, Thomas said she would be willing to testify as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of Nghiwilepo and Mbok. She was present in court, accompanied by a prison warder, for the appearance of her former co-accused on Tuesday.

Mbok remains free on bail of N$3 000, while Nghiwilepo is free on a warning from the court.

Source : The Namibian