Namibia: Illness Delays Trial Over N$7,4m Estate Theft

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THE trial of an estate administrator charged with stealing N$7,4 million from two estates under his control could not start as planned in the Windhoek High Court on Monday, after the accused was booked off due to illness.

Former public prosecutor Mervin Kozonguizi and his close corporation Kozonguizi and Associates CC are due to be prosecuted on two charges of corruptly using an office or position for gratification, two counts of fraud, alternatively theft, and 16 charges of money laundering in connection with his alleged misuse of money in two deceased estates under his control as executor or administrator.

Kozonguizi has indicated in a document filed at the High Court that he would deny guilt on all the charges during his trial.

With the trial scheduled to start on Monday, Kozonguizi was absent from the dock, and acting judge Kobus Miller was informed that he was in self-isolation because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The judge was also told that Kozonguizi was supposed to undergo gallbladder surgery last week and that this had to be postponed due to his self-isolation.

Kozonguizi has been making pretrial appearances in the High Court since September 2018.

Miller, who has previously remarked that he was reluctantly postponing Kozonguizi's case, told defence lawyer Hipura Ujaha on Monday he did not want a situation where the matter was remaining in limbo on the court roll and could not get started.

He postponed the case to 16 November for the trial to begin then.

Several prosecution witnesses were at the court yesterday after they had been subpoenaed to be present.

The state is alleging that Kozonguizi was appointed as administrator or executor of an estate from which close to N$8 million was supposed to be distributed to heirs between September 2014 and August 2015. However, Kozonguizi and the close corporation paid only N$1,5 million to the heirs and stole the remaining N$6,4 million that was due to the heirs, the state is charging.

It is also alleged that Kozonguizi used money from the same estate in 2014 and 2015 to buy two vehicles and two properties at Okahandja, while he also made payments to people not connected to the estate.

The prosecution is further alleging that between December 2015 and June 2016 Kozonguizi stole N$1 million from another estate administered by him. It is also alleged that he used part of that money to buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee at a price of N$420 000 in December 2015, a day after a payment of N$1 million had been received by the estate in question.

Kozonguizi was arrested and charged in January 2018, and was released on bail in the amount of N$100 000 after a week in police custody.

Due to his absence, Miller issued a warrant for his arrest yesterday, but directed that the warrant would not come into effect until 16 November.

The state is being represented by deputy prosecutor general Dominic Lisulo.

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