5 January 2007

Namibia: Kobi Alexander's Solar Housing Project

Windhoek — KOBI Alexander, the American-Israeli multimillionaire wanted by the USA on fraud charges, and currently in Namibia awaiting the outcome of an extradition case, has decided to invest in low-cost, solar-powered housing for 100 low-income residents of Kuisebmond in Walvis Bay.

According to Claudia Ramos of Remax, the estate agent who is involved with the deal, Alexander has already bought over 21 000 square metres near the Namport residential area of Walvis Bay for this project.

Eighty-two units are to be built on the subdivided plot, each fitted with solar electricity generators.

"Even the stove, everything will work with the solar power - then they will only ever have to pay for water," she said.

According to Ramos, investigations into the supply of such solar-power units is ongoing as project organisers continue to look for cheap, easily cleanable units and affordable maintenance service providers.

"If successful, the project will also empower small and medium businesses through the maintenance of the system, provide employment and cut down electricity usage in the region with its environment-friendly product," Ramos said.

She explained that they are currently also awaiting the municipal subdivision of the land into units which, when the houses are completed, will sell for about N$150 000 each.

According to Ramos, Alexander has already invested some N$12,3 million in the project.

"If the project is successful then it will be expanded to other parts of the country," she said.

Israeli-born Jacob 'Kobi' Alexander is the former CEO of Massachusetts-based Comverse Technology.

Alexander co-founded CTI in October 1984 and served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of CTI from 1987 to May 1, 2006, when he resigned during an investigation being conducted by a Special Committee of CTI's Board of Directors into the timing of CTI's stock option grants.

On July 29, 2006, Alexander, who holds dual American and Israeli citizenship, was charged by New York State authorities with multiple charges of conspiracy to commit various types of fraud (including securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud), as well as with related offences.

Since he had left the United States on June 28 for his annual vacation in Israel, his lawyers arranged with American authorities that he would return to face indictment on July 30; however, he instead flew to Germany.

On July 31, he was added to the FBI's Most Wanted List.

On August 9, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive action against Alexander, along with alleged co-conspirators William F.

Sorin, Comverse's former Senior General Counsel, and David Kreinberg, Comverse's former Chief Financial Officer.

Through this action, the Commission is seeking permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil damages, and a prohibition against any of the defendants becoming officers of a securities-issuing entity under SEC jurisdiction.

Alexander transferred over 40 million US dollars from his American bank accounts to a bank in Israel.

He had previously been traced in Sri Lanka before being arrested by Interpol in Windhoek on September 27 last year.

Published reports state that an extradition hearing on whether or not he will be sent to the US will not be until April of this year and even if it is ruled he may be extradited he can tie the case up in appeal for years thereafter.

Alexander chose not to make himself available for comment on the housing project, preferring to await the return of his lawyers, Metcalfe Legal Practitioners, from their summer holiday before speaking to The Namibian.

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