Namibia: Two held over suspected multi-million dollar scam

THE Prevention of Organised Crime Act was used for the first time this week to seize assets claimed to have been obtained through crime.

In a case in which a top-level former official in the civil service and a Chinese national were also arrested this week in connection with alleged corruption around the provision of security scanners to the Ministry of Finance, the Prosecutor General on Monday obtained an order in the High Court to in effect freeze assets allegedly connected to the case.

The order was obtained against Teckla Lameck, a former member of the Public Service Commission, Jerobeam Kongo Mokaxwa, who is understood to be a business partner of Lameck, Chinese national Yang Fan, and a Chinese company, Nuctech Company Ltd, which is understood to have won a multi-million dollar contract to supply security scanners to Government.

A source informed The Namibian that it is suspected that an alleged kickback of some US$4 million was paid and channeled through an account of a close corporation, Teko Trading CC, after the contract for some US$12 million (about N$96 million at the current exchange rate) was won by Nuctech.

Nuctech manufactures airport security X-ray scanners, and also large scanners for shipping containers. It is reported to be headed by Hu Haifeng, who is a son of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Anti-Corruption Commission Director Paulus Noa confirmed yesterday that two suspects were arrested on Tuesday evening. Noa said they would make their first court appearance today. He did not comment on reports that a third suspect was still being sought by late yesterday.

The two detained suspects have been held at the Dordabis Police Station since their arrest, a source said yesterday. It was indicated that this was attributed to fears of possible bribery.

Eight other parties are also cited as respondents in the application that the Prosecutor General took to court on Monday under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 2004, which came into operation on May 5 this year.

These include Lamecks businessman husband, TransNamib Board chairman Festus Lameck, close corporations Teko Trading CC, Ongonyo Trading CC and Comnon Properties Number Eight CC, Lance Hauuanga, and Veronica Panduleni Mokaxwa.

In the case that the Prosecutor General took to court on Monday, High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb gave a restraint order in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act that covers a range of assets from fixed properties to bank accounts to a collection of cars. In terms of such a restraint order, specified assets may not be dealt with for as long as the order remains in effect.

These assets covered in the case heard this week include a house in Windhoeks Ludwigsdorf area that is registered in the name of Comnon Properties Number Eight CC, a property at Dolphin Beach between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund that is registered in the name of Teko Trading CC, and various bank and investment accounts.

The court also issued a restraint order over money, which may not exceed a sum of US$12 828 800 (about N$103 million), in an account that Nuctech Company has with the Beijing branch of the Export-Import Bank of China.

The vehicles covered by the order include a Lexus LS460, a Toyota Landcruiser, and a Massey Ferguson tractor owned by Mr Lameck, a Mercedes-Benz station wagon registered in the name of Ongonyo Trading CC, and a Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor, Toyota Landcruiser and Toyota Hilux registered in the name of Kongo Mokaxwa.

The Namibian

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