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Aupindi’s corruption case postponed for the umpteenth time

by Kelvin Chiringa

A corruption case involving former Namibia Wildlife Resorts managing director and local businessman, Tobias Aupindi has been dealt another blow when it got postponed for the umpteenth time in the Windhoek magistrate’s court to the 24th and 25th of October 2018 for judgement as the magistrate was unavailable.

This is in spite of Aupindi having showed up at court together with an ACC official and the case was on the roll.

In January and later February of this year, the verdict had to be moved forward to March, reasons being that the legal counsel of Aupindi and co-accused Italian national, Antonio di Savino had gone abroad.

Come March, the court had to postpone to May the 30th again while the absence of the magistrate, Helvi Shilemba was not explained.

Aupindi is the former Namibia Wildlife Resorts managing director and together with Savino have seen their case drag for six years now in which they are charged under the Anti-Corruption Act.

Both men pleaded not guilty on a charge of providing falsified information to an officer of the corruption watchdog as well as attempting to defeat the course of justice.

It is the state’s case that both did not provide the truth to the ACC investigating official in 2010 when they allegedly told him that Aupindi had forked out an amount of N$50 000 to install a swimming pool at his Windhoek house while it was his colleague who had done so.

It is also claimed that this happened when Aupindi was still at the helm of NWR while Savino was engaged in business with the entity.

What took the trial such a lengthy time was that defence lawyers Richard Metcalfe and Louis du Pisani, who were representing both Aupindi and Di Savino respectively, bore upon magistrate Shilemba in 2013 to clear herself off because she was likely biased.

The ongoing corruption case has however not withheld Aupindi from getting a favourable opinion within the ruling Swapo party and at last year’s congress, he managed to make it into the central committee as one of the youngest members. 

Pressed by The Villager on whether the court case could potentially hamstring Aupindi’s political future, newly elected Secretary General of the party Sophia Shaningwa avoided to provide a direct answer beginning of this year.

She instead suggested that Aupindi was not the only one to be pinned down on corruption, rhetorically asking, “Who is not corrupt?”

However, she said there is need to wait for the case to be finalised.