15 February 2019

Namibia: Arrest Warrant Out for Bank Fraudster

A FORMER bank employee who admitted in the Windhoek High Court last year that he was guilty of 147 counts of fraud involving more than N$5 million is wanted by the police after failing to appear in court for the delivery of a judgement in his trial this week.

Judge Dinnah Usiku issued a warrant for the arrest of Charles Winston Manale (35) on Tuesday, when Manale did not appear in the dock before her for the scheduled delivery of her verdict on the only charge on which he denied guilt in September last year.

Manale was convicted on 147 counts of fraud after he admitted guilt on those charges five months ago. His trial then proceeded on a charge of money laundering, on which Manale denied guilt, and judge Usiku reserved her judgement on that count towards the end of October.

Manale remained free on a warning from the court while awaiting the delivery of the judge's verdict.

He was initially arrested in January 2016, and spent about a year and nine months in custody before the charges against him were withdrawn in October 2017, when a magistrate refused to give the state another postponement of his case while the investigation of the matter was still to be completed.

Manale was subsequently summoned to again appear in court in April last year, when the charges were reinstated.

When he admitted guilt to the fraud charges in September, Manale recounted in a plea explanation that he had been employed by Standard Bank Namibia as a senior estate and trust officer.

He stated that from January 2011, he hatched a plan to defraud estate accounts at the bank by submitting false payment requests, and authorising the ensuing payments that were then made. He had fraudulent payments made into a bank account of an acquaintance, Kauko Daniel Nehale, from January 2011 to August 2013, and after Nehale died, he had payments made directly to his own bank account during the period from September 2013 to December 2015, Manale said.

He admitted that he stole a total amount of about N$5,05 million from the bank through the fraud that he committed.

With respect to the charge of money laundering, Manale said in his plea explanation that he had been advised the charge was a duplication of the counts of fraud on which he pleaded guilty.

Before his arrest, Manale had been on the run for about a month while police were looking for him in connection with the fraud that he later admitted he was guilty of. He was arrested after he, accompanied by a lawyer, surrendered to Namibian Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga near the end of January 2016.

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