Half-baked victory for state in Teckla Lameck case

 

High Court judge Christie Liebenberg has refused state lawyers permission to appeal a ruling in which the corruption watchdog was found to have used unlawful procedures to issue summons that led to investigations of private bank accounts of suspects in the Teckla Lameck case.

 

The judge said it was pre-mature for the state to approach the Supreme Court as they were to be given a second chance to prove their case during the trial.

 

This thus ultimately turned out to be a half-baked victory for the state.

 

The ruling against the Anti-Corruption Commission had thrown the state’s case in disarray and thus they needed time to restrategise.

 

The effect was that evidence taken from those summons could no longer be used against the accused.

 

Teckla Lameck and Jerobeam Mokaxwa, and Chinese national, Yang Fan, were arrested in July 2009 for alleged fraud of N$120 million at the Ministry of Finance over the purchase of security scanning equipment.

 

This appeal ruling puts them back in a hard situation and will have to brace up for another challenge that will seek to legitimate the ACC’s action.

 

During the trial Namandje argued that the summons did not specify the crime that was being investigated first before the witnesses could provide information to the ACC in light of the whole corruption saga.

 

As such defense counsel stamped that the ACC involved itself in an intrusion of privacy with no grounds.

 

The lawyer submitted that the summons were unintelligible, did not comply with all requirements at common law and in terms of Sections 21 and 27 of the ACC Act necessary to be met prior to issuing of summons.

 

ACC boss Paulus Noa expressed that there was no illegality or anything fishy about the summons issued, adding that there was no clause in the ACC Act that forced him to specify what crime the ACC was investigating to mere witnesses.

He said the reason was also because the witnesses were not treated as suspects and were also not forced to provide information that could incriminate them.

 

 “These are legal requests to witnesses to provide information,” said the director general.

 

The ACC issued the summons to, among others, officials at Standard Bank and Bank Windhoek for the availing of bank statements as well as to MTC and Home Affairs.