Namibia: Avid Accused Fires Lawyer

Accused 2 in the ongoing Avid corruption and fraud trial in the Windhoek High Court, Inez Gases, has unceremoniously dumped her defense counsel, Advocate Werner Boesak, just days after he cross-examined former Swapo parliamentarian Paulus Kapia, who is accused 1.

When the trial about the Social Security Commission's (SSC) missing millions was to resume before Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday Gases caused a stir when she asked the court for a postponement to sort out her legal issues, as she no longer wishes to make use of the services of Boesak.

Gilroy Kasper, representing local lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, Sharon Blaauw and her husband Ralph Blaauw was ready to put Kapia, who is denying any involvement with the missing money, under the sword, but had to make way for Gases.

Kapia has been testifying for the last few weeks and has thusfar vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He said he only agreed to become a director of Avid to help local companies. He further denied using his influence as a prominent Swapo member to induce the SSC to invest with Avid, a barely known investment firm at the time.

Judge Liebenberg recently denied an application by the seven accused in the matter for all charges against them to be dropped for lack of evidence and ordered that they have answers to give.

Gases is expected to be the next accused person to testify when the cross-examination of Kapia is finished and observers of the long-running case have noted that it will be interesting to see who she finds to replace Boesak.

It is widely expected she will deny any wrongdoing and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the late Lazarus Kandara and will claim to merely have carried out orders.

Gases, Kapia, Podewiltz, the Blaauw couple, retired Brigadier Mathias Shiweda and Nico Josea are all charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, and a host of charges of reckless or fraudulent conduct of business, in contravention of the Companies Act of 1973 - that was repealed and replaced with a new Act in 2010.

Josea alone is charged with a count of theft. He is represented by Advocate Slysken Makando on instructions of legal aid, Brigadier Mathias Shiweda by Jan Wessels and Kapia by Sisa Namandje. Advocate Ed Marondedze represents the State.

Source; New Era.