Outjo town treasurer to face 114 chargesBy: WERNER MENGES
FORMER Outjo town treasurer Dawid Koen was informed this week that he will have to stand trial in the High Court on a total of 114 charges.
The Prosecutor General has decided to indict Koen (52) on 112 charges of fraud, alternatively theft, involving a total amount of over N$1,74 million, one count of arson, and one count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, Koen heard when he made his latest appearance in the Outjo Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Public Prosecutor Karrel Muyeghu also told Magistrate K.R. Swartz that Koen will have to make a first pre-trial appearance in the High Court in Windhoek on September 20.
Koen was arrested on August 17 2009, after a fire had destroyed the offices of the Outjo Municipality, where he was employed as town treasurer and strategic executive officer.
Koen spent two months in custody on an arson charge before he was released on bail.
He has pleaded not guilty to counts of arson, fraud and theft in the Outjo Magistrate’s Court, before the Prosecutor General decided to have his case transferred to the High Court for trial.
In the indictment which he is set to face in the High Court it is alleged that had he set fire to the municipal offices in order to conceal or destroy evidence of the theft of money from the municipality and of fraudulent activities against the municipality.
The prosecution is further alleging that Koen defrauded the municipality by not depositing money which been paid to the local authority – as payment for rates and water, electricity and other municipal services – into the municipality’s bank account.
It is alleged that Koen did not deposit cash received by the municipality into its bank account, but only deposited cheques received by it. This allegedly happened between March 5 2007 and August 17 2009.
By August 17 2009, an audit team from the Office of the Auditor General was due to visit Outjo to conduct an audit on the financial books of the municipality – only for the blaze at the municipal offices to throw the planned audit off track.
In the indictment it is also alleged that Koen had been under pressure about his work performance, after he had failed to submit financial statements for the years 2005/06, 2006/07, and 2007/08, while the municipality’s bank reconciliation statements were also in arrears.
Koen is remaining free on bail.