Avid kingpin a 'broken' man

13 June 2018 | Justice

One of the Avid fraud kingpins, Nico Josea, says he is a broken man. Testifying in mitigation of sentence yesterday in the High Court, Josea said he realises the seriousness of the offences of which he was convicted.

He said he was a broken man - spiritually and physically - and pleaded in tears for leniency from the court.

“I am really sorry for what had happened. Be merciful to me. I did not know it would be this way today. I leave everything in the capable hands of my lordship,” Josea said to Judge Christie Liebenberg.

His lawyer Slysken Makando said his client is a first-time offender and urged the court not to adopt and eye-for-eye attitude towards him.

“The society we will be having under such circumstances is a blind society,” he argued, while pleading for a substantial portion of Josea's sentence to be suspended.

The state called for appropriate sentences to be meted out to the five accused who have been found guilty of their part in the Avid/Social Security Commission (SSC) saga.

State advocate Ed Marondedze said former deputy minister Paulus Kapia, Inez /Gâses, Ralph Blaauw, his wife Sharon and Josea all played their part in the disappearance of the N$30 million from the SSC.

They had claimed in 2005 that the money would be transferred for investment, but it had ended up somewhere else.

“The effect of not investing the money has caused potential prejudice to the SCC and three of the accused (Kapia, /Gâses and Ralph Blaauw) did not provide an explanation to the commission,” Marondedze said.

“It is not in dispute that the money went missing.”

Marondedze argued the three accused were indecisive about how the money should be invested.

“They relinquished their duties and therefore their moral blameworthiness is very high,” he said. Marondedze said the evidence was that SSC managers did not want to deal with Avid founder, the late Lazarus Kandara, when investing the commission's funds.

He said Kandara's involvement in Avid was then shielded from the SSC.

When the SSC transferred the money into Avid's account, Kandara transferred it to the account of Namangol Investments, where Josea was the director and shareholder.

“Josea further transferred the money to Allan Rosenberg in South Africa and the rest is history,” Marondedze said.

“These are the snake's heads and they must be hit hard. They occasioned the loss,” Marondedze said of Kapia, /Gâses and Ralph Blaauw.

He said they had shown no remorse for what Kandara had done.

“They all along denied his involvement.”

Marondedze submitted the court should not treat Kapia with “kid gloves” and that he, /Gâses and Blaauw were not acting for the benefit of the country, but for their private pockets.

“The three were not forthcoming. They kept Kandara under their arms. There is no way they can expect a soft landing from the court in a case of this nature,” he argued.

Referring to suffering that the accused endured due to the long drawn-out trial, Marondedze argued this was as a consequence of the case.

“This should not make this court shy away from imposing the appropriate sentences,” he maintained.

According to him, when a court deals with fraud, involving potential or factual losses, it should look at the accused's role or purpose to determine whether they lived up to expectations or not.

“If we look at Kapia, he had a brilliant career. But did he live up to expectations? No! A lot was expected from him. He was supposed to lead by example. He was a member of parliament, where he was supposed to be in the driving seat of the country,” Marondedze argued.

Kapia was forced to resign as deputy works minister in August 2005.

Marondedze argued that society looked up to some of the accused as leaders, but they were used by Kandara and Josea and abdicated their responsibility towards the society.

“That should weigh heavily against them,” he argued.


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