Delays in N$4 million fraud case upset lawyer

Windhoek-The defence attorney in the case of a man charged with embezzling N$4 million from a bank, expressed her disappointment with the Prosecutor General on Tuesday for delaying her ruling on how to proceed with the case.

Charles Winston Manale, 32, is on trial for fraudulent transactions totalling N$4 million that took place between September 2013 and December 2015.

The N$4 million fraud case has been on the court roll since December 2016 while awaiting a decision from the Prosecutor General.

During the court proceedings, Attorney Meriam Kenaruzo said such delays made a mockery of the justice system as the accused had the right to a speedy trial.

"It is the accused that is suffering due to the delays by the state in this matter," she said.

The suspect, who voluntarily handed himself to the police after being on the run in 2016, has been on trial on charges of fraud and theft.

The state alleges that Manale, who was an employee at Standard bank Namibia's Trust Account Division in Windhoek, intentionally defrauded Standard Bank Namibia and one of its clients.

More specifically, the charges state he defrauded Standard Bank client Dorothea Christiana du Plessis by fraudulently transferring payments from her trust fund at the bank into his personal bank account.

Investigators recently summarised Manale's docket and forwarded it to the Prosecutor General for a decision, although they were supposed to have referred the case last year in December.

Kenaruzo requested the state to explain why it only sent the docket to the PG's office last week, but the state could not provide answers.

Manale has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and pleaded not guilty on both charges levelled against him.

Because he is a cross-dresser and a transgender person, police have held Manale in a separate holding cell at the Windhoek Central police station for his own protection after the court denied him bail.

Magistrate Venatius Alweendo postponed the matter to March 24 to enable the PG's office to make a conclusive decision on how it wants to proceed.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia