Windhoek — Ondangwa-based magistrate Liwena Walter Mikiti pleaded not guilty to charges of insurance fraud, alternatively theft, forgery and uttering a forged document and money laundering before Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Eileen Rakow yesterday.
He did not enter a plea explanation and only confirmed his not guilty pleas through Section 115 plea read into the record by his lawyer advocate Slysken Makando.
According to the 115 plea, he put the proof of all the allegations on the State and makes use of his right to remain silent.
The charges emanate from an alleged car insurance fraud committed during June 2014 to the tune of N$234 555.
According to the charge sheet, Mikiti was the owner of a 2009 Mercedes Benz C180K BE Classic insured by Santam Namibia through Welwitchia Insurance Brokers.
The court heard the vehicle was insured at a total of N$246 900, of which he was only paid N$234 555 based on his claim.
The vehicle was involved in a chain collision with three other vehicles on the Oshakati main road near Oneshila on 13 June 2014 and sustained minor damages and could still be driven afterwards.
However, the indictment read, Mikiti submitted a claim, which indicated that the accident occurred on 14 June 2014 and that his motor vehicle sustained extensive damages, which rendered it a total write-off.
It is further alleged Mikiti used the particulars of the accident of 13 June 2014 and the accident report issued for that accident when he claimed from the insurance. According to the State, it was on the basis of those particulars that Sanlam Namibia paid Mikiti N$234 555.
According to the State, Mikiti misrepresented to Sanlam that his motor vehicle was involved in an accident on 14 June and not 13 June 2014 and that it sustained damages beyond economical repairs; that it was a 2010 model instead of a 2009 model; that the other party in the accident was a Johannes Kaujeua; that the accident scene on the 14th was attended by a police officer and that he was entitled to claim from his insurance.
He did this, the State alleges, while he full-well knew that the damages which caused his vehicle to a write-off was not sustained during the accident of 13 June 2014 and that he made alterations to the accident report prepared on 13 June.
Yesterday, one of the people involved in the accident, Oiva Hangolo, a former police warrant officer, testified that on the morning of 13 June 2014, a date he remembers well as it was a Friday, he said, he was driving along the main road between Oshakati and Ondangwa when he was hit from behind by the accused's vehicle which in turn was hit from behind by the vehicle driven by Kaujeau.
He said that he remembers Mikiti well as they both emerged from their respective vehicles to inspect the damages.
While his vehicle only suffered minor damages including a broken tail light, the vehicle of Mikiti suffered extensive damage to both the front and back, but could still be driven. This, he said, he saw when the police officer who arrived at the scene instructed them to remove their vehicles from the road as they were obstructing traffic.
The trial is continuing today and Mikiti is free on bail. Advocate Timo Itula represents the prosecution.