Swapo sues Teko duoBy: WERNER MENGES
SWAPO-OWNED transport company Namib Contract Haulage is forging ahead with a N$1,5 million claim against the former chairperson of its board of directors, Teckla Lameck, and the company’s former financial manager, Kongo Mokaxwa.
The case in which Namib Contract Haulage (NCH) is suing the embattled Lameck and Mokaxwa (left) for N$1,5 million was postponed in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday, and is now due to return to court on May 16 for another pre-trial hearing.
Lameck and Mokaxwa are defending the case. They are disputing claims that they used N$1,5 million, which NCH borrowed from its holding company, the Swapo-owned Kalahari Holdings, to buy tipper trucks for a private business of theirs.
Mokaxwa and Public Service Commission member Lameck are business partners with equal membership in a close corporation, Teko Trading, which was registered in February 2007.
They are also co-accused in a criminal case which is pending in the High Court in Windhoek. In that case, they and a Chinese citizen, Yang Fan, are accused of having defrauded the Ministry of Finance of millions of dollars with the supply of Chinese-made X-ray scanning equipment to Namibia’s customs authorities.
The Chinese-made security scanning equipment was bought by the Ministry of Finance in 2008 at a total cost of US$55,34 million (about N$477 million at the time), it is alleged in the indictment setting out the charges against the three accused.
It is alleged that the price of the equipment was inflated to enable the manufacturer of the equipment, Nuctech, which was being represented by Yang, to pay a “commission” of at least US$12,828 million to Teko Trading.
In the same case, Lameck and Mokaxwa are also charged with a count of fraud, alternatively theft, in connection with a transaction in which NCH bought trucks from a Chinese company.
It is alleged that Lameck and Mokaxwa defrauded NCH between December 2006 and June 2009 by pretending to the company that it would be paying US$432 000 to buy eight trucks from a Chinese company at a price of US$54 000 each. In fact, that total purchase price was for twelve trucks, at a price of US$36 000 per truck, and four of the trucks that NCH paid for were delivered to Lameck and Mokaxwa rather than to NCH, it is alleged.
In Namib Contract Haulage’s civil case against Lameck and Mokaxwa the company is claiming that the two defendants negotiated the sale of 12 buses and eight tipper trucks to NCH during 2006.
In breach of Lameck and Mokaxwa’s duties to NCH, they bought four tipper trucks in China and had them shipped to Namibia on the company’s account, it is claimed.
It is further claimed that Lameck and Mokaxwa thereafter used the trucks to compete with NCH or sold the trucks at a profit.
It is also claimed that Lameck and Mokaxwa requested a loan of about US$1,5 million from Kalahari Holdings in June 2006 to enable NCH to buy 12 passenger buses and eight tipper trucks from a Chinese manufacturer.
In October 2006, they asked for an additional loan of N$1,5 million from Kalahari Holdings, claiming that because of a change in the Namibia dollar’s exchange rate against the US dollar the further loan was needed to purchase the Chinese buses and trucks, NCH is claiming.
The company is also claiming that in fact the exchange rate had not changed to the extent represented by the two defendants, and the N$1,5 million loan was used by them to buy another four tipper trucks which were later not registered in the name of Namib Contract Haulage.
The company claims to have suffered damages in an amount of N$1,5 million as a result of misrepresentations made by Lameck and Mokaxwa.
The two defendants are denying that they made any false representations to secure the N$1,5 million loan for Namib Contract Haulage.
They are admitting that they bought four tipper trucks in China, with three of these bought for themselves. They are claiming that only the clearing costs for the four trucks were paid by NCH, and that they paid this money back to NCH after the trucks arrived in Namibia.
They are specifically denying that the trucks were bought on NCH’s account, that they used the trucks to compete with NCH, or that they breached any of their duties towards the company.
NCH was informed of the fact that they bought the trucks for their own benefit and for business purposes, Lameck and Mokaxwa are also claiming.
They have further raised a special plea in response to the legal action taken against them. The transactions over which NCH is suing them took place in 2006, but they were sued only in September 2011, which is more than three years after the event, they have pointed out.
They are arguing that this means that the claim against them has prescribed, as it was more than three years old.
The civil case is due to return to court on the day after the first session of the criminal trial of Lameck, Mokaxwa and Yang is supposed to end.
Their criminal trial is scheduled to start on April 16, with court dates up to May 15 reserved for that hearing.
Further trial dates from August 1 to September 13 have also been reserved for the criminal trial.