8 April 2013

Namibia: More ODC Money Recovered

MORE money is expected to trickle into government coffers after investigators discovered property outside Namibia belonging to people implicated in the disappearance of N$100 million from investments made by the Offshore Development Corporation.

The Namibian understands that Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana will in two weeks update the National Assembly on the government's efforts to recover the missing millions.

Kawana declined to comment on the investigations when approached by The Namibian.

The last time Kawana updated Parliament was in November last year, when he announced that N$37,5 million of the missing money had been recovered.

A top government official involved in the investigation told The Namibian that they have been making inroads which include finding properties owned by those suspected to have defrauded the ODC.

"We are still discovering properties of people that committed the fraud. The problem is that some of those properties are outside the country," said the source.

Sources close to the investigation declined to comment, saying it would jeopardise their investigations.

According to one official, the government is still in the process of preparing criminal charges for prosecution. However it is complicated since some of the alleged fraudsters are in other countries.

"Some of them are in prisons," said the well-placed source.

The Namibian government is in the process of liquidating the assets of certain people.

One of the key players in the ODC saga during 2005, Tertius Theart, was in 2011 sentenced to a 10-year prison term for fraud involving N$2 million in South Africa. It is not clear whether Theart has been released from prison.

Investigations started in 2004 to trace the ODC millions when it was found that the money had been moved from accounts in South Africa, the United States, Swaziland and other countries.

Kawana told the National Assembly last year that it was the duty of those entrusted with public resources to ensure that they account to the nation.

"Individuals should not become millionaires overnight without explaining how they acquired such wealth when only yesterday they were John Walker specials who could not even afford a bicycle. This nation is entitled to know the source of wealth of every citizen, especially from those individuals who are entrusted with the nation's public resources," Kawana said.

No one has been prosecuted yet over the missing N$100 million.

The saga started in 2003 and 2004 when the ODC invested N$101,8 million in separate transactions with Great Triangle Investments, which was registered in Botswana but owned by South African Philip Fourie.

It was later believed that much of the money originated from the ODC sister company the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), and from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

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