Man sentenced to eight years imprisonment for defrauding drilling company

A former accountant of a drilling company on trial in the Windhoek High Court on charges of massive fraud amounting to N.dollars 17 million, on Thursday admitted to committing the offence.

Stephanie Serfontein, 54, made the admission when she tendered a plea of guilty to a total of 34 charges of fraud, alternatively theft, and one count of money laundering at the start of her trial before High Court Judge Kobus Miller on Thursday morning.

She was, thereafter, found guilty of the aforesaid charges upon her own guilty plea.

Serfontein is charged in the matter alongside her ex-husband, Izak Serfontein, 47, whose trial was on Thursday separated from that of his ex-wife after she tendered the guilty plea.

In a statement of guilty presented before court by her lawyer Advocate Louis Botes, Serfontein explained that she had devised a fraudulent scheme when she defrauded her former employer, mining drilling contractor Ferrodrill Namibia, of about N.dollars 17 million while she was employed by the company as a senior accountant.

She told the court that she committed the offence between in 2008 and 2012, when she stole the money from the company's bank account and channelled the funds into the account of her ex-husband.

Serfontein confessed before court that other amounts were channelled into an account of her daughter and into her personal bank account.

Initially, Serfontein was scheduled to enter her guilty plea on Tuesday last week, but could not do so after she attempted to commit suicide on a Sunday afternoon and her failed attempt to end her life prompted her relatives to make arrangements to take her to a private psychiatric medical practitioner for observation on Wednesday or Thursday last week.

The ex-couple initially faced charges of fraud involving N.dollars 3 million before it ballooned to N.dollars 17 million.

Izak Serfontein is still free on warning. He is represented by Attorney Jan Wessels.

State Advocate Constance Moyo is appearing for the prosecution.

Source: Namibia Press Agency