State appeals fugitive’s bail

State appeals fugitive’s bail

THE Office of the Prosecutor General has taken a first step on the road to appealing against the ruling in which a Windhoek Magistrate last week granted bail to Israeli-born former software company executive Jacob ‘Kobi’ Alexander, who is wanted in the United States on 32 charges of fraud and other alleged offences.

The State on Monday filed an appeal notice with the High Court to set in motion appeal proceedings against Magistrate Uaatjo Uanivi’s decision to grant bail of N$10 million to Alexander, Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa told The Namibian yesterday. Imalwa said there were a number of grounds on which the appeal would be based, including the State’s view that Magistrate Uanivi did not consider many of the facts that had been placed before him during the hearing of Alexander’s bail application, and that a number of misdirections had resulted from this.She added that her office wanted the High Court to give proper directions on how matters like Alexander’s would have to be handled by courts in future.Alexander posted bail of N$10 million after Magistrate Uanivi ruled on Tuesday last week that objections from the State against his bail application were not supported by evidence placed before him during the hearing.He specifically commented that the State’s fear that Alexander would abscond if he was released on bail, and that there was a likelihood that Alexander would not attend the eventual hearing of an extradition request from the United States, were not supported by evidence that he had heard in the course of the application.Those findings were wrong, it is claimed in the appeal notice that has been filed with the High Court.The Magistrate also misdirected himself when he failed to consider whether it was in the interest of justice to keep Alexander in custody pending a formal extradition enquiry, it is further claimed in the appeal notice.No date for the hearing of the State’s application for leave to appeal against the bail ruling has been set yet.According to Imalwa, though, appeals against bail rulings are normally considered to be urgent.Alexander was arrested on September 27 on the basis of a provisional arrest warrant that the US requested should be issued in Namibia while a formal request for his extradition to the US was still being prepared.That extradition request has not yet been submitted to Namibia’s Justice Minister.It will however be submitted within the 30-day time limit after the issuing of the provisional arrest warrant that the Extradition Act sets, Ray Castillo, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Windhoek, said yesterday.Alexander (54), who was born in Israel but had been living and working in New York before he became a fugitive from the US justice system, was until May this year the Chief Executive Officer of Comverse Technology Inc, a Nasdaq-listed company that he helped found and steered to become a leading maker of telecommunications software and a company with a market capitalisation of billions of US dollars.The US authorities are now charging that while he was in charge of the company, he became involved in an allegedly fraudulent scheme in which he helped manipulate the sale of shares in the company in order to pocket extra earnings of tens of millions of US dollars.Between January 1998 and March 2006, it is charged in an indictment that has been filed against Alexander in a New York court, Alexander’s own wealth ballooned through him making a profit of US$138 million (about N$1,05 billion) through his selling of shares in Comverse.Out of this profit, however, about $6,4 million (N$49,9 million) was ill-gotten fruits from the illegal manipulating of the timing and pricing of shares that he received in the company, it is claimed.Some of this money may now be in Namibia.Alexander has transferred N$120 million from Israel to Namibia, and has already invested some N$11 million in local business partnerships since coming to Namibia in late July, the Magistrate was informed in the bail application.The Magistrate was also informed, through an affidavit by Alexander that was submitted to him during the bail application, that Alexander would plead not guilty and defend himself against the charges if he is ever extradited.Regardless of the success of the State’s planned appeal against last week’s bail ruling, Alexander’s days of being a free man in Namibia may be numbered.According to the Extradition Act he will have to be kept in custody, and will not be entitled to be released on bail, once a Magistrate conducting his eventual extradition hearing has found that he may be extradited.Imalwa said there were a number of grounds on which the appeal would be based, including the State’s view that Magistrate Uanivi did not consider many of the facts that had been placed before him during the hearing of Alexander’s bail application, and that a number of misdirections had resulted from this. She added that her office wanted the High Court to give proper directions on how matters like Alexander’s would have to be handled by courts in future.Alexander posted bail of N$10 million after Magistrate Uanivi ruled on Tuesday last week that objections from the State against his bail application were not supported by evidence placed before him during the hearing.He specifically commented that the State’s fear that Alexander would abscond if he was released on bail, and that there was a likelihood that Alexander would not attend the eventual hearing of an extradition request from the United States, were not supported by evidence that he had heard in the course of the application.Those findings were wrong, it is claimed in the appeal notice that has been filed with the High Court.The Magistrate also misdirected himself when he failed to consider whether it was in the interest of justice to keep Alexander in custody pending a formal extradition enquiry, it is further claimed in the appeal notice.No date for the hearing of the State’s application for leave to appeal against the bail ruling has been set yet.According to Imalwa, though, appeals against bail rulings are normally considered to be urgent.Alexander was arrested on September 27 on the basis of a provisional arrest warrant that the US requested should be issued in Namibia while a formal request for his extradition to the US was still being prepared.That extradition request has not yet been submitted to Namibia’s Justice Minister.It will however be submitted within the 30-day time limit after the issuing of the provisional arrest warrant that the Extradition Act sets, Ray Castillo, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Windhoek, said yesterday.Alexander (54), who was born in Israel but had been living and working in New York before he became a fugitive from the US justice system, was until May this year the Chief Executive Officer of Comverse Technology Inc, a Nasdaq-listed company that he helped found and steered to become a leading maker of telecommunications software and a company with a market capitalisation of billions of US dollars.The US authorities are now charging that while he was in charge of the company, he became involved in an allegedly fraudulent scheme in which he helped manipulate the sale of shares in the company in order to pocket extra earnings of tens of millions of US dollars.Between January 1998 and March 2006, it is charged in an indictment that has been filed against Alexander in a New York court, Alexander’s own wealth ballooned through him making a profit of US$138 million (about N$1,05 billion) through his selling of shares in Comverse.Out of this profit, however, about $6,4 million (N$49,9 million) was ill-gotten fruits from the illegal manipulating of the timing and pricing of shares that he received in the company, it is claimed.Some of this money may now be in Namibia.Alexander has transferred N$120 million from Israel to Namibia, and has already invested some N$11 million in local business partnerships since coming to Namibia in late July, the Magistrate was informed in the bail application.The Magistrate was also informed, through an affidavit by Alexander that was submitted to him during the bail application, that Alexander would plead not guilty and defend himself against the charges if he is ever extradited.Regardless of the success of the State’s planned appeal against last week’s bail ruling, Alexander’s days of being a free man in Namibia may be numbered.According to the Extradition Act he will have to be kept in custody, and will not be entitled to be released on bail, once a Magistrate conducting his eventual extradition hearing has found that he may be extradited.

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