Police Looking for Avid Trial Witnesses

THE police are trying to make contact with dozens of prospective witnesses in the trial of seven people accused of having defrauded the Social Commission Commission with a botched N$30 million investment deal in early 2005.

The police have not been able to trace about 40 witnesses who are set to testify in the trial, which is due to start in the Windhoek High Court on 19 May, and have now issued an appeal to the witnesses to make contact with two officers working on the case.

One of the officers, Detective Warrant Officer Elifas Namdjembo, said yesterday that the witnesses’ residential addresses and phone numbers have changed since they made witness statements in connection with the case. “We don’t know where they are,” he said.

The witnesses are due to testify in the trial of Swapo Member of Parliament Paulus Kapia, Nico Josea, Ralph Blaauw, Inez Gacircses, Mathias Shiweda and lawyers Otniel Podewiltz and Sharon Blaauw. The seven accused are charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, and a charge of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business, which is a contravention of the Companies Act, in connection with an SSC investment of N$30 million that was placed with an asset management company, Avid Investment Corporation, and channelled to another asset management company, Namangol Investments, in January 2005.

It is alleged that half of the SSC’s money later made its way into a bank account of Josea, who went on to spend the money as if it was his own. The SSC had Avid Investment Corporation liquidated in July 2005, after the company was unable to repay the N$30 million and promised interest earnings to the parastatal.

The witnesses whom the police say they are unable to trace include the former chief executive officer of the SSC, Tuli Hiveluah, the liquidator of Avid Investment Corporation, Windhoek-based charted accountant Eric Knouwds, a former acting deputy sheriff of the High Court, De Wet Esterhuizen, and two former managers at the SSC, Gideon Mulder and Avril Green.

The police have also asked Esterhuizen’s late mother, Valerie Esterhuizen, who was also the deputy sheriff of the High Court, to contact the two officers. Mrs Esterhuizen died after she retired from the deputy sheriff position about five years ago.

Another well-known personality whom the police are also looking for is pastor Paul Goagoseb, whose Lutheran church at Otjiwarongo received a donation from the late kingpin of Avid, Lazarus Kandara.

The names of 66 potential State witnesses are listed on the indictment setting out the charges against the seven accused. The witnesses who are being asked to contact Namdjembo through his cellphone number, 081 296 6143, or Detective Chief Inspector Sandema at (061) 209 3306 or 081 284 0658, are:

– Tuli Hiveluah

– Eric Knouwds

– Maria Magdalena Mungunda

– De Wet Esterhuizen

– Gideon Fredrick Mulder

– Avril Godfried Green

– Tonata Shiimi

– Abel Hermanus Badenhorst

– Christo Bezuidenhout

– Marita Botha

– Jacobus Fredrick Brayshow

– Mariane De Kerk

– Petrus Jacob Du Plooy

– Nadiema Eberenz

– Sylvis Gille

– Paul Goagoseb

– Renette Goussard

– Elfriede Graf

– Michael Nicholas Groenewald

– Yoolokeni Mwaulange Haihambo

– Henrich Helm

– Wilbur Izaaks

– Barend Hermanus Janeen

– Wilma Joubert

– Christophine Ndapewa Kandara

– Margie Kein

– Isak Ben Khabeb

– Erica Kruger

– Louretta Louw

– Edward Willem Mostert

– Etuna Nashima

– Karel Jacobus Nel

– Caroline Nghifitikeko

– Tileinge Sacharia Oholima

– Hester Opperman

– Desderia Schroder

– John Stephanus Smith

– Charlotte von Wielligh

– Elizabeth Williams

Source : The Namibian