Avid kingpin denies self-implicating admissions

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One of the accused persons in the Avid/Social Security Commission(SSC) fraud case dating back to 2005, Nico Josea, on Wednesday took to the stand in the Windhoek High Court and denied that he and his company, Namangol, ever did business with the SSC.Josea, represented by Advocate Slysken Makando, is facing fraud charges alongside six other former directors of Avid investments – a company alleged to have invested N$30 million from the SSC in a dubious manner in 2005.According to the indictment, Avid was unable to pay back the investment after N$29,5 million was channeled to Namangol Investments, a claim that Josea categorically denied on the stand. Charges against the former Avid director also detailed how Josea allegedly splurged the money for his and his business associates’ personal use. During cross examination on Wednesday, Josea denied the version of Gideon Melder, an SSC official, that he had promised to pay back the missing millions during his bail application.Josea further denied claims by Melder that during a visit to the Avid offices, he promised that the SSC would get its money back.According to Josea, although he was a director of Avid Investments, he never actually set foot in the Avid offices.Josea is charged alongside former Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Paulus Kapia; Avid Investment’s Administrative Secretary, Inez Gases, Labour Ministry official and lawyer Otniel Podewiltz, Retired Namibian Defence Force (NDF) Brigadier, Mathias Shiweda, former Acting Secretary-General of the National Youth Council (NYC), Ralph Blaauw and his wife, Sharon Blaauw.The seven former Avid Investment directors are each facing separate charges with about 10 counts of fraud, alternatively theft, corruption and giving false evidence in an inquiry in terms of the Companies’ Act No 28 of 2004.Their trial continues in the High Court before Judge Christie Liebenberg. State Advocate Ed Marondedze is being assisted by Public Prosecutor Cliff Lutibezi.