State and defence agree on sentence for cigarrette fraud convict

Windhoek-Both the State and the defence counsel for a woman convicted of fraud involving cigarettes asked the court to sentence her to 10 years' imprisonment with part of the sentence suspended.

They however disagreed on the portion of the term to be suspended.

Advocate Simba Nduna for the State asked that four years be suspended while Titus Ipumbu for the defence asked that six years be suspended.

Venicia Ann Koning, a former issuing invoice administrative clerk at then Indo Atlantic, now CIC, was convicted by High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on 18 counts of fraud involving the issuing of false invoices for cigarettes that were not ordered by customers at Walvis Bay.

She was acquitted on 19 other counts on a Section 174 application after the State closed its case.

Her co-accused David Martin Bezuidenhout, who was the driver of the cash van that delivered cigarettes to customers, was acquitted on 12 counts of fraud, alternatively theft.

Defence counsel Ipumbu asked the court to show mercy on the accused as she is a first offender and still relatively young.

He asked the court to give her a chance to rehabilitate and become a productive member of society again.

Prosecutor Nduna on the other hand said the convict did not take the court into her confidence and the only plausible motive for the theft was excessive greed.

He said that Koning had ample time to reflect on the crimes as they occurred over a period of time. He further said that Koning did not show any remorse and if any she was merely sorry for being caught.

He further stated that if Koning is sentenced too leniently, society will think it is okay to steal and be pitied by the courts.

According to him a message must be sent to the public that the courts will mete out deterrent sentences for so-called white collar crimes.

Judge Siboleka said he would deliver sentence on September 29 and remanded Koning in custody. Her bail was cancelled upon her conviction earlier this month.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia