Sisters in Court Over N$600 000 Fraud

Two sisters made a third appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday on a charge of fraud. It is alleged they embezled money from the United Africa Group, where one of the sisters used to be employed.

The suspects Annalise Bok and Jessica Dentlinger made a first appearance last Tuesday when they were not asked to plead and the case was remanded to Wednesday, also last week, for bail consideration. They were arrested the previous Monday close to Keetmanshoop reportedly on their way to South Africa. On Wednesday bail was denied and they were aised to lodge a formal bail application.

Their legal representative James Diedericks was clearly astonished when bail was refused, since according to him they had already reached consensus with the state and that only one outstanding issue had to be resolved for bail to be granted. He said he had proposed to the state that the accused post bail in the amount of N$30 000 each with strict conditions, including reporting once per day to the police and the confiscation of their passports. He argued that it would not be in the interest of justice to refuse the accused bail, since Bok has a six-month old baby and Dentlinger two children between the ages 6 and 16, who live with their 65-year-old grandmother.

However, Prosecutor Letta Amakali told the court that judging by the amount involved, which has so far increased from the original N$71 000 to more than N$600 000 and none of which was recovered, it is clear that the accused profited from their alleged criminal activities.

She further said the state has a real fear that the accused will abscond, since they were arrested on their way to South Africa without the children in question. She said a proper enquiry must be held for the court to determine whether it will be in the interest of justice and the society at large to grant the sisters bail.

Magistrate Justine Asino concurred and ruled that irrespective of whether the state previously agreed to bail, it is its prerogative to change its mind. She further said the state has fears of interference in the investigation and of abscondment and such fears must first be addressed during a formal bail application. She then postponed the matter to yesterday for a date to be set for a formal bail application, which has now been determined to be June 11. Samantha Diergaardt represented the state yesterday, while Mbanga Siyomundji stood in for Diedericks. The state alleges that Bok who was employed at United Africa Group and has been defrauding the company since 2012. It is alleged that she paid money meant for suppliers into her own bank account and that of her sister. It is also suspected that the amount allegedly embezzled could reach N$1 million as investigations continue.

Source : New Era