By Eliaser Ndeyanale | 9 September 2020
THE former financial manager of a Namibian Defence Force company has been accused in court documents of stealing close to N$14 million from the company and splurging it on vehicles and houses.
Paulus Moshana is accused of diverting funds from defence manufacturer August 26 Textile and Garment Factory. His wife, Ester Ndinelago Shimwandi, an accounts clerk who worked in her husband’s office, has also been implicated in the case.
The couple has been charged with theft and fraud but not arrested.
The missing funds are part of N$100 million allegedly stolen from the parastatal. The company fired more than 80 people in February this year.
The prosecutor general has filed a case under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act against the couple in the Windhoek High Court. In the case, prosecutor general Martha Imalwa is accusing Moshana of fraud, theft, tax evasion and money laundering.
The case was on the court’s roll last week, according to the Office of the Judiciary. However, the public and media are blocked from viewing documents filed in the matter as the case has been marked “in camera” on the High Court portal known as eJustice.
The Namibian obtained documents from the Office of the Judiciary, though. Officials said the court documents should be made public by now.
The police say the alleged offences relate to a pattern of racketeering activities covered by the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
“Moshana is alleged to have been involved in the unlawful activities and used proceeds of the unlawful activities,” Imalwa said in an affidavit filed at the court.
In court documents, Imalwa is alleging that the couple spent part of the money on houses in Windhoek, at Walvis Bay and Omuthiya. They also bought seven cars and a tractor during the period of the alleged corruption.
PAYMENTS TO COMPANIES
Moshana is accused of defrauding August 26 Textile through three companies linked to him.
The police said he faked invoices for services provided to the company.
Imalwa says in an affidavit that invoices were presented to August 26 Textile to create a belief that invoiced services had been duly rendered and the invoiced amounts claimed were due and payable, while the truth is the invoiced services were neither requested nor rendered to the company.
She also says an amount of N$13,7 million was transferred from August 26 to entities controlled by or with links to Moshana’s family.
Imalwa alleges that N$3,4 million was transferred from August 26 Textile to his company Veer Investments. The payments were made through 38 electronic transfers from 1 March 2017 to 24 July 2018.
Moshana is a signatory to Veer Investments’ account and is the only person entitled to transact on its account, Imalwa says.
She further says 43 electronic payments of around N$2,9 million were made from August 26 Textile’s bank account to an account of Vuma Investments, which is 100% owned by Moshana’s cousin Mulihaleni Samuel Linus.
According to court documents, Linus is the only signatory to the account.
Imalwa also recounts that bank records show that after the money had been transferred from August 26 Textile’s account to an account of Veer Investments, N$200 000 was transferred from that account to a home loan account of Moshana in March 2017 and N$900 000 was paid to an account of a close corporation of Moshana, Omakuva Investments.
The police also said in documents filed at the court that they are investigating for what N$1,2 million was transferred from an account of August 26 Textile to another company, Proficient Investments – linked to Heita Mbalili.
Suspicious payments were allegedly processed by Moshana and his wife Shimwandi while August 26’s chief administration officer, Josiah Kasheeta, would release the funds.
The weekly Confidénte reported last year that Shimwandi was responsible for making out invoices while her husband released the payments.
Shimwandi was later moved to another office where she worked as a cashier until her resignation in February last year. Moshana did not respond to questions sent to his mobile phone.
However, according to court documents, Kasheeta told investigators he released the funds on occasions when he was told the company’s former managing director Silas Amunyela was not in the office.
Court documents show that the couple paid N$1 million for a property at Omuthiya in June 2017.
The property was bought from Matheus Kanime, a former employee of August 26. Moshana subsequently sold it in September 2018.
He went on to buy a plot at Kuisebmund, Walvis Bay, in June 2016 for N$300 000. He sold it in December 2018 for N$865 000. The couple then purchased a house in Dorado Park in Windhoek for N$2,1 million in April 2018.
A police financial investigation also found that Moshana bought a Jeep Cherokee, for which he paid N$360 000 in cash, around June 2016.
He also bought a Toyota Land Cruiser 70 and Nissan NP300 in June 2016, and a N$200 000 tractor a few months later. His wife has owned a VW Polo since 2017.
On 20 February this year, the board members of August 26 Holdings – the parent company of August 26 – wrote to Namibian Police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga inquiring about the couple.
“However, they did not receive any response,” the documents state.
The couple have not been arrested.
The prosecutor general said in court papers she was worried that the couple were selling and hiding residential properties bought with illicit funds.
Imalwa applied for a preservation order over the couple’s fixed properties and vehicles in December 2019.
However, it was later found that the Nissan NP300 had been sold for N$85 000, while the tractor is allegedly in Angola.
The Land Cruiser was allegedly parked in the north.
The Namibian Defence Force has built a shadowy business empire that does not account to the public or parliament.
The secretive conglomerate is August 26 Holdings, formed by the defence ministry in 1998. It initially held a stake in a controversial diamond mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but has since spread its wings by launching or acquiring eight industrial subsidiaries: August 26 Logistics, Windhoeker Maschinenfabrik, August 26 Industries, Sat-Com, August 26 UBM, August 26 Textile and Garment Factory, NamForce and Agri-Tour.
Many of these companies are run by serving or retired senior NDF officers.