Jacobs denies corruption chargesBy: LUQMAN CLOETE
THE former chief regional officer of the Karas Regional Council, Salmaan Jacobs, pleaded not guilty to five counts of corruption when his trial started in the Keetmanshoop Regional Court on Monday.
Two of the corruption counts originate from subsistence and travel allowance claims. Jacobs allegedly defrauded the Karas Regional Council of close to N$32 000 by claiming N$49 020 from the council for attending a month-long, all-expenses-paid workshop in Germany.
Two other counts are based on a catering contract which Jacobs awarded as the council’s tender board chairman to Sadadi Enterprise CC, a company he allegedly had an interest in, in October and November 2006.
On the fifth count Jacobs is accused of using his position to obtain gratification by allegedly allocating N$30 000 to Sadadi Enterprise on the pretext that it was meant for a community gardening project at Berseba.
During Wednesday’s court hearing, former Karas governor Dawid Boois, now regional councillor for the Berseba Constituency, testified that he had directed Jacobs to consider the gardening project funding request, which was written on a letterhead of Sadadi Enterprises CC.
According to Boois, the request was submitted by Berseba resident Marius Jacobs, who is a nephew of the accused.
Boois said although he had directed Jacobs to consider funding the project, he later learnt that N$30 000 was disbursed for the project without council approval.
Boois also told the court that he learnt through media reports that Jacobs had an interest in Sadadi Enterprise CC.
Boois added that he had expected Jacobs to table the funding request for approval by the Regional Council, but this did not happen.
Asked by State prosecutor Veiko Alexander whether the project had materialised, Boois remarked: “No, there was only a solar panel and water reservoir on the land allocated for the establishment of the gardening project”.
Furthermore, Boois testified that council had approved Jacobs’s trip to Germany after it had been told that it was an all-expenses-paid trip.
However, according to Boois, Jacobs afterwards submitted an incidental expenses request for appropriate clothing due to the weather in that country, and for after hours travelling in Germany.
At yesterday’s hearing, Marius Jacobs, in whose name the financial support was requested from council, denied that he had signed the funding request.
He also told the court that he had not given powers to any person to sign documents on his behalf.
Jacobs testified that he also came to know about the funding letter after the council had disbursed money for the project.
According to he younger Jacobs, he was given the funding request letter by the accused after he had asked when the gardening project material was delivered at Berseba.
Jacobs claimed that he had not seen a cent of the N$30 000 council donation, but added that Salmaan Jacobs had bought the gardening project material including wire, a water reservoir and a solar panel.