‘Hollywood’ comes to the High Court

‘Hollywood’ comes to the High Court

WITH a turnout a first-time Hollywood movie producer would envy, hundreds of people pushed and shoved their way into the High Court yesterday, while more than 20 Police officers had their hands full keeping the crowds at bay.

Such was the curiosity to finally see Lazarus Kandara, the mastermind behind Avid Investments, the company that struck the N$30-million deal with the Social Security Commission, that Acting Judge Raymond Heathcote threatened to hold the inquiry behind closed doors if the bursting galleries did not simmer down. Kandara and wife Christophine were treated like a celebrity couple as people tried to shake their hands, touch them and get in a few words with them as they separately made their way into the crowded courthouse.Shortly before 10h00, Lazarus Kandara sauntered into the courtroom via the private passage entrance not like an alleged fraudster, but a hero coming to save the day.The gallery applauded him and he in return flashed them a broad smile and gave them a big overhead wave.Dressed in a dark pinstripe suit and blue shirt, Kandara looked relaxed as he took a seat next to Swapo Youth League leader Paulus Kapia and the pair almost immediately struck up a conversation.This despite Kapia claiming that he and Kandara had a very superficial relationship.Before him, veteran journalist Hannes Smith also received applause as he entered the courtroom to photograph the maddening crowd.Middleman Nico Josea from Namangol Investments, to whom Avid had transferred the SSC’s millions, had entered the courtroom earlier, flanked by the head of the Serious Crime Unit and to a much more subdued reception from the crowd.Around him, at least 400 people continued to push each other for a place to stand or sit, as court officials and the Police directed people where to sit.A notice placed in a daily newspaper last week by Prime Minister Nahas Angula, warning public servants who attended proceedings without putting in leave that they could be accused of corruption themselves, appeared not to deter people from showing up in droves.Fans were carried in to keep the Judge cool in a room with no air-conditioning, and desperate onlookers even scrambled for a place in the dock, generally reserved for hardened criminals.Kandara’s wife, who has seemingly gained the admiration of many members of the public during two days of explosive testimony during her husband’s absence, was forced to stand throughout the morning session.Also entering the courtroom via the private passage shortly after he husband, she obliged those who approached to shake her hand and exchange a few words.Outside the Courtroom C, it was chaos as hordes of people still tried to make their way into the court and people posed as journalists in their desperation to get a good seat.Police officers struggled to keep the noise down as Acting Judge Raymond Heathcote entered the court and waited in vain for the crowd to simmer down.”I know that there is a big interest, but I must ask you to keep quiet,” Heathcote attempted and, much like a schoolteacher, requested the Police to bring the next person who spoke to the front of the room.Turning to Kandara, he said: “Thank you for coming, Mr Kandara.I think you owe the Namibian people an explanation.”Andrew Corbett, legal counsel for the Social Security Commission, was agitated by the disruption the noise within and outside the courtroom was causing to proceedings, forcing Heathcote to adjourn the inquiry barely five minutes after it started.Police officers were ordered to exert better control over the crowds, else he would be forced to exclude the public from proceedings, Heathcote warned.At lunchtime the public was forced out of the courthouse, but as soon as they were outside and realised that the “main players” were not coming out too, they again stormed up the front steps to take their seats again.Josea remained in the corridors consulting with his legal counsel, while Kandara chose to remain put in the witness seat throughout the hour-long break.Special Field Force officers became entangled in a minor scuffle with people outside who attempted to push their way through the steel doors during the lunch hour.The officers were requested to head for queues that stretched to John Meinert Street so that they could count the number of people who re-entered.The streets were lined with cars and more onlookers.A much quieter and controlled situation prevailed in the courtroom after the lunch recess, with the Police only allowing in as many people as there were seats available.They continued to control the flow of people at the steel doors to the entrance of the courthouse throughout the afternoon session, but people continued to hang around outside in the hope of getting in.Kandara and wife Christophine were treated like a celebrity couple as people tried to shake their hands, touch them and get in a few words with them as they separately made their way into the crowded courthouse.Shortly before 10h00, Lazarus Kandara sauntered into the courtroom via the private passage entrance not like an alleged fraudster, but a hero coming to save the day.The gallery applauded him and he in return flashed them a broad smile and gave them a big overhead wave.Dressed in a dark pinstripe suit and blue shirt, Kandara looked relaxed as he took a seat next to Swapo Youth League leader Paulus Kapia and the pair almost immediately struck up a conversation.This despite Kapia claiming that he and Kandara had a very superficial relationship.Before him, veteran journalist Hannes Smith also received applause as he entered the courtroom to photograph the maddening crowd.Middleman Nico Josea from Namangol Investments, to whom Avid had transferred the SSC’s millions, had entered the courtroom earlier, flanked by the head of the Serious Crime Unit and to a much more subdued reception from the crowd.Around him, at least 400 people continued to push each other for a place to stand or sit, as court officials and the Police directed people where to sit.A notice placed in a daily newspaper last week by Prime Minister Nahas Angula, warning public servants who attended proceedings without putting in leave that they could be accused of corruption themselves, appeared not to deter people from showing up in droves.Fans were carried in to keep the Judge cool in a room with no air-conditioning, and desperate onlookers even scrambled for a place in the dock, generally reserved for hardened criminals.Kandara’s wife, who has seemingly gained the admiration of many members of the public during two days of explosive testimony during her husband’s absence, was forced to stand throughout the morning session.Also entering the courtroom via the private passage shortly after he husband, she obliged those who approached to shake her hand and exchange a few words.Outside the Courtroom C, it was chaos as hordes of people still tried to make their way into the court and people posed as journalists in their desperation to get a good seat.Police officers struggled to keep the noise down as Acting Judge Raymond Heathcote entered the court and waited in vain for the crowd to simmer down.”I know that there is a big interest, but I must ask you to keep quiet,” Heathcote attempted and, much like a schoolteacher, requested the Police to bring the next person who spoke to the front of the room.Turning to Kandara, he said: “Thank you for coming, Mr Kandara.I think you owe the Namibian people an explanation.”Andrew Corbett, legal counsel for the Social Security Commission, was agitated by the disruption the noise within and outside the courtroom was causing to proceedings, forcing Heathcote to adjourn the inquiry barely five minutes after it started.Police officers were ordered to exert better control over the crowds, else he would be forced to exclude the public from proceedings, Heathcote warned.At lunchtime the public was forced out of the courthouse, but as soon as they were outside and realised that the “main players” were not coming out too, they again stormed up the front steps to take their seats again.Josea remained in the corridors consulting with his legal counsel, while Kandara chose to remain put in the witness seat throughout the hour-long break.Special Field Force officers became entangled in a minor scuffle with people outside who attempted to push their way through the steel doors during the lunch hour.The officers were requested to head for queues that stretched to John Meinert Street so that they could count the number of people who re-entered.The streets were lined with cars and more onlookers.A much quieter and controlled situation prevailed in the courtroom after the lunch recess, with the Police only allowing in as many people as there were seats available.They continued to control the flow of people at the steel doors to the entrance of the courthouse throughout the afternoon session, but people continued to hang around outside in the hope of getting in.

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