Hijarunguru fraud case transferred to higher court
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24 March 2017
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The long-awaited fraud case involving Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) Chairperson, Ellison Hijarunguru, and his co-accused, Albert Rickerts will proceed on 21 April at the Katutura Regional Court, after it was transferred from the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.

The two men are facing charges stemming from the time when Hijarunguru was Air Namibia’s Corporate Communications Manager, and Rickerts worked as sales representative at the national carrier.

The two were arrested by the by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2011 for allegedly running a ticketing scam. The fraud case, which has experienced several delays, is expected to finally take off in April, with the two men expected to plead before the trial proceeds. A clerk at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court told the Windhoek Observer recently that the case, which was set to be heard in that court last Monday, was transferred to the Katutura Regional Court, which deals with such cases.

“They (Hijarunguru and Rickerts) will make their first regional court appearance in April. It is the Prosecutor General who decided that they appear in the regional court, due to the nature of the case. The sentences at the Katutura Regional Court are normally more than ten years, unlike in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, which gives sentences of five years,” said the clerk.

Hijarunguru and Rickerts are due to stand trial on 20 counts of corruptly using an office or position for gratification.

At the time of their arrest, the ACC alleged that they had abused a barter trade agreement between Air Namibia and Democratic Media Holdings (DMH), which has since been renamed Namibia Media Holdings.

In terms of the barter agreement, the airline exchanged air tickets for free newspapers and advertisements.

It is alleged that Hijarunguru and Rickerts placed people, who were not employees of DMH or who were not affiliated to the company, on the barter agreement.

In the process, the two men allegedly received gratification amounting to N$206,077. Hijarunguru, resigned from his position at Air Namibia in March 2008, shortly after was suspended, following the discovery of the alleged misuse of flight tickets at the troubled airline.

Both accused remain free on bail.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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