Ex-sport commission officials pray for bail

Windhoek-Two former employees of the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC), Walter Haseb and Ivonne Pihonge Nande, will hear their fate in Windhoek Magistrate's Court today.

Haseb, 46, and Nande, 35, have been battling to convince the court that they are suitable to be released on bail following their arrest for allegedly embezzling the NSC out of N$4.9 million. Anti-Corruption Commission investigators arrested them in July.

The pair was informed by Magistrate Vanessa Stanley on Friday that the bail application judgment would be ready today, following submissions by the applicants' defence attorneys. The State opposed the bail application on the grounds of the seriousness of the case; that it would not be in the interest of justice, and for fear of interference with ongoing investigations.

The accused have already approached the auditor and attempted to bribe him with N$400,000, this alone constitutes interference with investigations, Public Prosecutor Joseph Andreas argued.

Andreas further held that evidence presented by the internal auditor of attempted bribery is enough to have the accused stand trial on prima facie evidence in view of the fact that they are likely to face a lengthy jail term if found guilty.

The court should take into account that the interest of justice outweighs the interest of the accused persons, he said.

In defence of their clients, attorneys Vetu Uanivi and Kadhila Amoomo explained that there was no proof that there was any attempt by the accused to bribe the auditor.

They further indicated that their clients had been cooperative and had assisted the investigations, even at a time when they were not properly informed of their rights.

The defence proposed that their clients be released on N$30,000 bail each, with reporting conditions attached and furthermore would hand over all travelling documents and not apply for new ones while the trial is ongoing.

Haseb and Nande were remanded in custody until the bail ruling today.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia