Early Christmas present for N$1.8 million fraud suspect

Windhoek-In what could as well be an early Christmas present, a man from Gobabis who wished to plead guilty to a charge of defrauding Standard Bank, Gobabis, of N$1.8 million in a span of two years, will only plead to the charge on January 16 next year after his lawyer, Jan Wessels, informed the court that that is the earliest date he would be available for the trial.

Usually when an accused wishes to plead guilty, the trial will be started almost immediately and once the State accepts the plea of guilty, the accused will be convicted and if on bail, the bail will be cancelled and the accused remanded in custody.

In this case, however, it seems as if Mark Wayne van Wyk, 30, scored an early present from Santa as his bail was extended until his next court appearance.

Van Wyk already indicated to two judges during pre-trial proceedings that he intended to plead guilty to the 288 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, he faces in the Windhoek High Court.

Wessels also told Judge Naomi Shivute through counsel Mbanga Siyomunji, who stood in for him, that he had not as yet compiled a plea explanation that set out the reasons for the guilty plea and the counts Van Wyk planned to plead guilty on.

The judge ordered him to file the plea explanation on or before November 30 to allow State counsel Salomon Kanyemba time to study the plea and either reject it or accept it.

According to the charge sheet, Van Wyk was employed as the accounts support consultant, also known as asset custodian, at the Gobabis branch of Standard Bank, and his duties were to oversee transactions on the bank's internal revenue/interest accounts as well as do treasury balancing in respect of the said accounts.

It is further alleged that he initiated a scheme wherein he would obtain banking accounts from his friends, relatives and acquaintances, and would manipulate the bank's system to cause payments to be captured, deposited and/or transferred from the bank's internal revenue/interest accounts into his personal accounts, and into the accounts of his friends, relatives and acquaintances, causing the bank a loss of N$1,811,622.11.

He allegedly did this during the period January 19, 2013 to August 31, 2015.

It was further stated in the indictment that the accused would then contact the person(s) into whose account he had transferred the money from the bank and ask them to withdraw the transferred money and hand it over to him, while on other occasions he would ask the persons to give him their ATM card, which he would then use to withdraw money at several ATMs, or use such card to make purchases at different POS terminals.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia