Massive tax fraud guilty plea delayed
As the massive finance ministry tax fraud case continue to play out in the High Court, an accused Angolan’s chance to plead guilty was yesterday snatched when his lawyer pulled away from representing him.
The VAT scam is said to have cost the ministry of finance some N$100 million.
Kadhila Amoomo notified court in absentia of his intention to stop representing Joaquim Pedro Espanhol who has finally thought of accepting his crimes and have his case done away with.
Amoomo did not give reasons why he was withdrawing but suspicions are that the Angolan failed to pay for the legal services.
His plea had been scheduled for yesterday as well as an attempt by other accused persons to apply for bail.
However, until Amoomo follows due process other than merely announcing he remains regarded as still representing his client.
The case has thus been shifted further to the 22nd of November before Judge Christie Liebenberg’s mentions roll for pre-trial while bail for other accused persons were also extended.
Meanwhile a total of 13 Angolans inclusive of two Namibians are still in court facing charges of fraud.
They are being accused of fraudulently claiming value-added tax (VAT) refunds totaling more than N$114 million from the ministry of finance from the start of 2014 to December 2015.
According to the indictment the accused persons forged tax invoices, VAT claim forms and customs documentation to claim VAT refunds from the ministry of finance.
The false refund claims are said to stem from false information that goods had been bought in Namibia and then exported, entitling the buyers to a refund of the VAT they had paid on the goods. Not all of the allegedly fraudulent refund claims were paid out, though.
The accused dealt with a company, Aveshe Consultancy which was at the time managing Vat refunds for the ministry and one of its ex-employees, Mamsy Nuuyoma got sucked in the scandal.
She languished for three moths in cells before she got released on a massive bail of N$50 000.
Two of the Angolans have so far escaped the wrath of jail time when they were sentenced to a fine upon pleading guilt to the charges.