21 August 2017

Namibia: Ex-Sports Officials Fight Tooth and Nail for Bail

Windhoek — It was a battleground on Friday in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court as former Namibian Sports Commission (NSC) officials Ivonne Nande, 35, and Walter Haseb, 46, battled to convince the court to release them on bail.

Things took rather a drastic turn when the duo started throwing legal punches by shifting the blame on each other although they both appeared in good spirits.

Nande and Haseb were arrested following an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for the misappropriation of about N$5 million at the NSC during 2016.

During the bail application hearing, Nande, who took the stand first, denied guilt, stating that she never stole money from the NSC during her employment tenure. According to the prosecution, Nande cashed 26 cheques worth over N$2 million. All the cheques were written out in the names of different associations that never got the money. Nande, who resigned from her position as development officer at the NSC on July 17, did not dispute that she cashed cheques on behalf of the NSC.

"I have never stolen money from the commission nor have I ever been called for a disciplinary hearing for stealing money," charged Nande.

During cross-examination Nande revealed that all the money that she got from the bank from cashing the cheques was handed over to Haseb.

State prosecutor Joseph Andreas asked Nande for a break-up of her finances and Nande explained that as development officer her salary ranged between N$7,000 - N$10,000.

She stated that she pays N$7,500 for her rented home in Okahandja, owns an Audi sedan that she allegedly purchased with a loan of N$60,000 and a Mercedes Benz that she purchased last year for N$450,000 cash.

The State was a bit sceptical about her earnings compared to her lifestyle, saying that Nande's earnings do not equate to her style of living.

Through further scrutiny from the State, Nande alleged that apart from her salary, her lifestyle is possible with extra earnings from her businesses that range from an events company to taxis and a bar.

She claimed that her businesses made about N$400,000 between January and July this year. Financial records of what she made during that period from her said businesses could not be presented as they were not available.

Haseb who took the stand later in the day disputed every detail that Nande testified. Haseb was employed at NSC from 2007 until 2016, holding various positions including head of finance and administration and acting chief administrator for a while, but resigned, alluding that the board was interfering with the administrative duties of the commission.

"As an accounting officer I never got that money from the accused. Before a cheque is issued, documentation in place need to be filled in for the cheque to be signed off," explained Haseb.

Haseb questioned Nande to explain why there is no record that indicates he received the money that was cashed from the cheques.

"My understanding was that the payments were genuine when I signed off," said Haseb.

Haseb during his testimony revealed that he does not own any immovable assets but owns 10 vehicles and livestock that are held on a farm he is leasing.

The State is yet to cross-examine Haseb on the potential charges he is facing as it still stands it ground that the pair should not be released on bail.

Magistrate Vannesa Stanley postponed the matter to September 1 and lawyers Vetu Uanivi and Kadhila Amoomo represented the accused.

Namibia

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