8 February 2013

Namibia: Ex-Outjo Treasurer Faces N$2 Million Claim

THE former town treasurer of the Outjo Municipality, Dawid Koen, is facing legal troubles on two fronts, with the Outjo Town Council suing him for close to N$2 million while criminal charges are also pending against him in the High Court in Windhoek.

A pre-trial hearing on the civil case in which the Outjo Municipal Council is suing Koen and his former wife for just over N$1,904 million took place before Acting Judge Collins Parker yesterday. A trial on the municipality's claim against the former couple is scheduled to start in the High Court in Windhoek on February 25, and that trial date remains unchanged, Acting Judge Parker was told.

Koen and his ex-wife, Wanda Estelle Koen, who were married in community of property, are defending the municipal council's legal action against them.

In a plea filed with the court their legal representative has offered a blanket denial to the allegations of theft and misappropriation that the municipality is making against Koen in its claim.

The municipality is claiming that during the period from March 5 2007 to August 17 2009, while Koen was employed as its strategic executive officer for finance and administration, he failed to deposit all of the money which the municipality received as payments from its clients in the municipal bank account.

The Office of the Auditor General has found that the cash deposited in the municipality's bank account during the 2006/07 financial year was N$106 875 short. In the next financial year, it was N$705 382 short, in 2008/09 it was N$832 872 short, and from July 1 to August 17 2009, N$97 078 which should have been deposited in the municipal bank account was not banked, the Office of the Auditor General has informed the municipality.

The municipality is also claiming that Koen owes it a further N$162 411. That debt emanates from personal purchases, totalling N$138 538, which Koen made with municipal orders and which were never deducted from his salary, and debit orders of Koen which were paid from the municipal bank account and were never deducted form Koen's salary, as well as a laptop, home insurance and two months of medical aid contributions of Koen which had also been paid by the municipality and were never deducted from his salary, it is claimed.

In the criminal case that is pending against Koen, the prosecution is alleging that he set the offices of the Outjo Municipality on fire on August 17 2009 in an attempt to conceal or destroy evidence of fraud and the theft of money from the municipality.

It is further being alleged that Koen defrauded the municipality by not depositing money which been paid to the local authority as payment for rates and water, electricity and other municipal services into the municipality's bank account.

It is alleged that Koen did not deposit cash received by the municipality into its bank account, but only deposited cheques received by it. This happened between March 5 2007 and August 17 2009, the prosecution is charging in its indictment.

Koen defrauded the municipality of a total amount of more than N$1,74 million, it is also alleged in the criminal case.

Koen resigned from his job with the municipality at the end of January 2010, while disciplinary proceedings against him were pending.

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