New Era (Windhoek)

26 November 2012

Namibia: Fraud Suspects Granted Bail

Windhoek — Two men accused of defrauding the Ministry of Education of N$2.1 million were each granted bail of N$60 000 in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court last Thursday.

Magistrate Hileni Kavara granted bail to Asser Shaanika Uulenga (37) and Elifas Shatipamba Amakali (33). The men face corruption charges under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act and were arrested last month.

The State had previously objected to bail which was originally set at N$100 000, but was reduced to N$60 000. The matter was remanded to March 27, 2013 for further police investigations.

As part of their bail conditions, the two suspects also have to report twice a week to the Windhoek police station, on Mondays and Thursdays. In July, Magistrate Shilemba denied the men bail, citing the seriousness of the matter and the fact that the State has a strong case. In late June, six officials involved in alleged large-scale fraud at the Ministry of Education were suspended, while two others were arrested.

The education office complex was placed under immediate police guard following the announcement of the investigation to guarantee that investigators have access to computers and documents and to ensure that documents were not removed or tampered with.

The investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was prompted after it came to light that some salaries were being paid to 'ghost teachers'. The ACC was requested to investigate the allegations of fraudulent payments made by certain employees to a close corporation known as Commune Catering Services.

Uulenga, who is an employee of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, is said to be the owner of the company, while Amakali is a former education official, who has since resigned from his post.

Prosecutor Erich Naikaku represented the State, while Orben Sibeya of the law firm Sibeya and Partners represented the two men.

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