The Namibian woman who was convicted with 12 Angolans for defrauding government of N$210 million through false tax refunds on purchases exported from Namibia, wants the court to have mercy on her.
Mamsy Mweneni Nuuyoma (32), who worked at the company that managed value-added tax (VAT) refunds on behalf of the Ministry of Finance at the time called Aveshe Consultancy, yesterday asked the court for forgiveness and a second chance.
"I humble myself before the court, and ask the court to have mercy on me," she told acting Windhoek High Court Judge Kobus Miller. The judge earlier convicted her of 216 counts of fraud, including one count of money laundering, and defeating the course of justice.
Nuuyoma, who is in custody at the Klein Windhoek police cells after her bail was cancelled upon her conviction, also told the court that she has a two-year old son who she is solely responsible for as the father has no interest in the boy.
According to her, the father of the boy is unemployed, and has to date not contributed anything for the upkeep of the child.
That duty, she said, now falls on her elderly mother, who is also struggling financially as she is dependent on her government pension to survive. Nuuyoma further testified that her mother is sickly and suffers from diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer's, which causes her to forget to take her medicine if not reminded.
She further told the court that she used to work at a construction company as a debtors clerk earning about N$7 000 per month, which she used for the upkeep of herself, her mother and her son. But after her conviction and subsequent incarceration, she was suspended.
However, she said if the court shows her leniency and sentence her to a fine or a suspended sentence, she can still be a contributing member of society as she is still young and can play a meaningful role.
Her mother, Rebecca, also testified in mitigation. According to the mother, she is struggling to make ends meet without the help of Nuuyoma. She further told the court that with the government pension, she is only able to buy maize meal and milk for her grandson.
She further told the court that Nuuyoma has repented and become born-again, and will not offend again if given a second chance. "I humbly and with respect ask the court to show mercy to my daughter, and give her a chance to prove herself," the distraught mother pleaded.
According to her, Nuuyoma was raised with Christian values, and is a loving, obedient, humble and hardworking person.
The 13 accused faced different counts of the total 629 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, money laundering and corruptly giving a document containing false information to an agent. Charges were withdrawn against two of the original 16 Angolans after they absconded when given bail.
The other Namibian is Noah Boykie Naukosho (31), who was convicted on one count of money laundering, and acquitted on the fraud counts. The amount involved in the massive value-added tax fraud scam has more than doubled from the initial N$114 million to more than N$210 million, it emerged from the indictment document.
It is alleged that the accused were involved in the use of forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim VAT refunds from the Ministry of Finance. Angolan citizens Benvindo Momafuba (51) and Pembele Zimutu also testified in their own defence, and put the blame on their former boss, one Alphons Lubadiki.
They also asked the court for mercy.