The fraud and theft trial of former Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Director General Gerry Munyama started in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday with Munyama and a co-accused both pleading not guilty to all charges against them, writes Werner Menges in The Namibian,

“Certainly not guilty,” Munyama (53) twice told Judge Kato van Niekerk when he was asked to give his plea to a charge of fraud and an alternative charge of theft of N$345 995,88 in connection with his alleged personal use of an NBC bank account during 2005, when he was still in charge of the perennially troubled public broadcaster.

On a further charge of forgery, Munyama pleaded “definitely not guilty”. On the last charge, a count of uttering, his plea was a plain “not guilty”.

Munyama’s co-accused, businessman Engelbrecht Theodor (43), also pleaded not guilty to all the charges he faces.
Theodor is charged with a main count of fraud, an alternative count of theft, and another two alternative counts of theft by false pretences.

The charges against both men are based on allegations that Munyama had used a forged NBC Board resolution to open a bank account in the NBC’s name in mid-May 2005, that cheques totalling N$345 995,88 that were due to the NBC were subsequently paid into the account, and that Munyama went on to withdraw that money from the account for his personal use.

When he opened the account, Munyama gave his home address as the registered address for the account and gave a postal address belonging to his wife and a business partner of hers as the postal address for the account, the prosecution is claiming in its indictment against Munyama and Theodor.

It is also alleged that two cheques, totalling N$244 750, were drawn on the account that had been opened by Munyama and on which he had the sole signing powers. It is alleged that these cheques were then paid to a close corporation in which Theodor had an interest, Khomas Engineering CC, and that Theodor withdrew the money originating from these cheques from Khomas Engineering’s bank account and used this money himself or gave it to Munyama.

The first witness to testify for the prosecution might start to give evidence before Judge Van Niekerk today.
After the two men had given their pleas yesterday, Munyama’s defence counsel, Herman Oosthuizen, asked the judge for an adjournment until this morning so that he could consult his client and decide whether he should be launching into a constitutional challenge straight away, before the court starts hearing evidence in the case.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Namibian's website.