Namibia: Covid Delays Multichoice Fraud Trial

A possible exposure to a Covid-19 positive employee has forced lawyer Slysken Makando to miss a trial in which a married couple and their friend are accused of defrauding MultiChoice Namibia of about N$2 million.

Lawyer Kalundu Kamwi told Windhoek High Court judge Herman January that one of Makando's employees tested positive for the virus and that he was swabbed on Tuesday, with the results possibly available

yesterday.

However, by yesterday morning, the results were not available, and Judge January postponed the matter to today.

Makando is instructed by Kamwi.

Manga Nawa-Mukena (40), her husband Joseph Mukena (46) and a friend of theirs Celestino Gabriel Antonio (40) are facing charges of fraud, alternatively theft, money laundering, forgery and uttering of a forged document, contravening the Organised Crime Act, obstructing or defeating the course of justice or attempting to do so, and contravening the Value Added Tax Act.

The Mukena couple face 85 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, the wife alone 84 counts of forgery and uttering a forged document, all three accused a second count of forgery and uttering a forged document, the Mukenas one count of contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, all three one count of money laundering, all three accused one count of obstructing or defeating the course of justice or attempting to do so, and Manga alone facing one count of contravening the Value Added Tax Act.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The alleged scheme ran from April 2013 to March 2017.

Manga was employed by MultiChoice as marketing manager of the satellite television company.

She was responsible for the placement of advertisements of MultiChoice's current and new product concepts in newspapers and other media platforms, as well as for the approving and/or submitting all supplier invoices to MultiChoice for processing and payment, the indictment reads.

The State further alleges that Manga had taken advantage of the situation, and initiated a fraudulent scheme wherein she would draw up falsified supplier tax invoices reflecting the name of the Kundana weekly newspaper published by New Era Publications Corporation for advertisements purportedly placed in the weekly.

It is further alleged that after the arrest of Manga, she and her husband approached Antonio in order to misrepresent to MultiChoice that he owned a company called KundanaNam (Pty) Ltd, which had rendered the marketing services in question, and that all the payments were made to the said KundanaNam.

The State alleges that MultiChoice suffered a loss of N$2 088 071 as a result of the fraudulent and money laundering scheme perpetrated by the three accused.

Antonio is represented by Mbanga Siyomunji, and the State by Tuna Iitula.

Nawa-Mukena and Antonio are free on bail, while Mukena is free on a warning. -rrouth@nepc.com.na

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