Suspects in B1 City project in High Court on Thurs

WINDHOEK: Four people charged with fraud, corruption and theft involving the B1 City development project in the capital will make their first appearance in the High Court on Thursday.

They are former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) Kelly Nghixulifwa, 56; David Imbili, 46; Hafeni Nghinamwaami, 48; and 51-year-old Anna Ndoroma.

The group appeared before Magistrate Ruth Modesta Herunga on 24 February this year, whence their alleged fraud case was transferred to the Windhoek High Court as per order issued by the Office of Prosecutor-General Martha Ekandjo-Imalwa.

They were arrested between 14 and 16 February 2014 by investigators attached to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The accused persons face a total of eight main charges, including corruption, fraud, theft and money-laundering.

Four of the eight charges flow from the Roads Contractor Company’s involvement in the B1 City property development project during 2005 and 2006.

Other charges relate to Nghixulifwa’s tenure as chief executive officer of the RCC, which came to an end with his resignation at the end of 2006 after he had been suspended from his position.

The Magistrate’s Court was earlier informed that the Prosecutor-General’s office had decided to indict Ndoroma, Nghixulifwa, Imbili, Nghinamwaami, the /Ae //Gams Engineering company, represented by Imbili; and Cradle Investments, represented by Nghinamwaami; in the High Court on the main charges of corruptly using an office or position for gratification, fraud, failing to disclose an interest in a contract and money-laundering.

It is alleged that Nghixulifwa was a shareholder in both /Ae //Gams Engineering and Cradle Investments, but allegedly concealed his stake in the two companies by having his shares held in Ndoroma’s name.

It is further alleged that he failed to disclose his interests in the two companies to the board of directors of the RCC.

With the RCC Board allegedly kept in the dark about Nghixulifwa’s stake in /Ae //Gams Engineering, in which Nghinamwaami and Imbili were also shareholders, Nghixulifwa and Imbili in February 2005 signed an agreement in terms of which the RCC and the /Ae //Gams Engineering company were to undertake the B1 City shopping complex and taxi rank development as a joint venture.

Nghixulifwa thus allegedly corruptly used his position at the RCC to buy the plot of land where the B1 City development was to take place on behalf of /Ae //Gams Engineering with RCC funds and a credit facility in the amount of N.dollars 4,87 million.

He allegedly also defrauded the RCC by bringing managers at the parastatal and the chairperson of the RCC board under the impression that a mortgage bond of N.dollars 4,87 million had been registered over the B1 City property in the RCC’s favour, when in fact that had not been done.

It is also alleged in the indictment that while still employed as RCC chief executive officer, the accused defrauded the RCC and a construction company, Murray and Roberts, in December 2004 by concealing his shareholding in Cradle Investments, and inducing the RCC and Murray and Roberts to pay a ‘facilitation fee’ of N.dollars 150 000 to Cradle Investments and Nghinamwaami for the role they had supposedly played in the construction of a new head office for the parastatal.

It is alleged that in fact, Nghinamwaami and Cradle Investments had not been appointed as project facilitators, and were not entitled to receiving such fee.

It is also alleged that Nghixulifwa used his position with the parastatal in April 2006 to have a debt of N.dollars 29 954 of Cradle Investments with a firm of auditors settled with RCC funds.

In another charge, it is alleged that the accused corruptly used his position as RCC CEO in March 2006 to have a payment of N.dollars 92 729 made with RCC funds on the home loan account of an RCC employee, Brian Nalisa, which was allegedly in arrears.

Nghinamwaami, who appeared in person in February this year, told the court that he will obtain the services of a private defence lawyer when trial-proper begins in the High Court.

Windhoek-based defence lawyers Mbushandje Nhinda, Sisa Namandje and Frank Kopplinger are representing Nghixulifwa, Imbili and Ndoroma.

The four are free on bail of N.dollars 60 000 each.