WINDHOEK: The continuation of the trial of former Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Managing Director, Tobie Aupindi and his co-accused Antonio Di Savino will resume in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in February next year.
The two accused businessmen made another appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Helvi Kauna Shilemba on Friday morning, and they were informed that the their trial will resume on 26 February 2013.
The trial, which is based on charges of corruption, is scheduled to run until 27 February 2013, the court heard.
The matter was postponed to 26 February next year, as per the agreement reached by Public Prosecutor Erick Naikaku and the accused persons’ defence lawyers, Advocate Richard Metcalfe and Louis Du Pisani.
On 24 February this year, the two accused men suffered a heavy blow when the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court dismissed their application for discharge.
“After carefully going through the evidence presented by both defence lawyers, Richard Metcalfe and Louis Du Pisani, and the prosecution team led by Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselmann, I have come to the conclusion that the two accused persons have a case to answer before court,” said Magistrate Shilemba at the time.
As a result of this, the two accused are now to be put on their defence when the trial continues on 26 February next year.
The two defence lawyers also brought an urgent application for the discharge of their clients in February this year, shortly after Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselmann, who appeared for the prosecution during the hearing of the discharge application, closed the State’s case.
This unsuccessful discharge application was brought before court in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures’ Act, the two defence lawyers stated at the time.
They wanted the court to discharge their clients on the grounds that thus far, there had been no prima-facie evidence presented before court to indicate that the two men were involved in the alleged corruption, as the State claims.
Husselmann, however, asked the court to dismiss the discharge application, arguing that the two accused persons should be put on their defences and should testify before court.
On 06 February this year, the 36-year-old Aupindi and his co-accused Di Savino, whose age was not given, entered not guilty pleas at the start of their corruption trial.
In the matter, it is alleged that Di Savino paid for a N.dollars 50 000 swimming pool which was installed at Aupindi’s home in return for tenders for the refurbishment of the parastatal’s resorts.
The two men each pleaded not guilty to a number of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act of 2003, namely a main count of allegedly corruptly providing false information to an authorised officer, and a count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
They also pleaded not guilty to the alternative count on the main charge.
The duo entered their pleas as per Section 119 of Namibia’s Criminal Procedures Act, and as per the instructions from their respective defence lawyers.
Evidence contained in a summary of substantial facts in the charge-sheet has it that the former NWR boss had provided false information to an investigating officer of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), William Lloyd, by stating that he had paid N.dollars 50 000 in cash to a local company LIC Pools for a swimming pool installed at his house in 25 Kestrel Street, Hochland Park.
The allegation against Aupindi is that he did not pay for the swimming pool himself, and that Di Savino in fact paid for the pool as a kickback in exchange for tile tenders awarded to his co-accused for work done at NWR resorts.
Di Savino, like Aupindi, faces charges of providing false information to an ACC investigator, and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The former NWR chief left the parastatal at the end of December 2010, four months before his contract was due to expire.
Media reports at the time claimed that he received a ‘golden handshake’ of about N.dollars 4,5 million.
Aupindi and Di Savino are free on bail, and their bail was also extended until 26 February 2013 for the continuation of the trial.