Teko trio maintains innocence

WINDHOEK More than five years after they first pleaded not guilty to mega corruption charges in the Windhoek High Court, former Public Service Commission chairperson, Teckla Lameck, her business partner, Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa, and Chinese national, Yang Fan, still maintained their innocence when they pleaded afresh before High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday.

Yesterday, Lameck as accused 1, Fan as accused 2 and Mokaxwa as accused 3 were asked to plead after they were informed of the charges against them and all three pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Advocate Gerson Hinda SC, who is defending all three on the instructions of Sisa Namandje, informed the court that the pleas were in accordance with their instructions and Namandje proceeded to read a statement on their plea into the record. According to the plea explanation, the accused shall demonstrate during the trial that the investigation against them was marred with unfair practices and that the investigating officers of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) abused their powers and came to court with dirty hands.

It was further stated in the plea explanation that the defence would vehemently object to certain evidentiary material being presented to court as the ACC agents procured it in a biased, most unlawful and unfair manner with a total lack of impartiality and as such heavily infringed on the Constitutional rights of the defendants.

The statement went on to address the various charges and the defence it intends to adopt, which in all cases is a blanket denial of any wrongdoing.

The trio faces mega corruption charges related to the purchase of scanners for the Ministry of Finance to be used at border posts and the purchase of trucks for Namibia Contract Haulage.

Lameck and Mokaxwa previously worked at the Swapo Party company and Fan was a representative for the Chinese company, Nuctech, from where the Ministry of Finance sourced the scanners.

The matter is to begin afresh before Judge Liebenberg after the trio succeeded in removing Judge Maphios Cheda from their trial for perceived bias.

While Lameck and Mokaxwa alone is accused of defrauding the Swapo-owned company where they worked with at least US$144,000 for the purchase of four tipper trucks, they, together with Fan, are accused of a range of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act.

It is alleged that Lameck, Fan and Mokaxwa duped government, through the Ministry of Finance, into paying an inflated price of US$55,348,800 for scanners to be used at airports and border posts.

In fact, the State alleges, the price was inflated by US$12,828,800 meant as 'commission' for Teko Trading, which facilitated the transaction.

The other charges the trio face � Lameck (18), Mokaxwa (12) and Fan (6) � relate to transgressions of the Immigration Control Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and further contraventions of the Anti-Corruption Act.

The two Namibians and the Chinese national were arrested on July 8 and 9, 2009, in Windhoek in connection with the alleged massive fraud scam contract, through which the Ministry of Finance bought security scanning equipment from a Chinese company.

Lameck and Mokaxwa are currently free on bail of N$50,000 each and Yang on bail of N$1 million.

The State is represented by Advocate Dominic Lisulo assisted by Advocate Constance Moyo.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia