Former Namibian Defence chief closer to losing N$3,6 million in a Zambian bank

Namibian Defence Force, Lieutenant General Martin Shalli (Retired)
THE former chief of the Namibian Defence Force, Lieutenant General Martin Shalli (Retired), is another step closer to losing about N$3,6 million in a Zambian bank account in his name.
This is after an order declaring the money in Shalli’s account at Standard Chartered Bank in Lusaka forfeited to the State was granted in the Windhoek High Court on Friday.

Shalli did not oppose the prosecutor general’s application for the forfeiture order, which Judge Maphios Cheda granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Shalli told The Namibian yesterday that he simply does not have the sort of financial means needed to fight an expensive legal battle to oppose the prosecutor general’s forfeiture application.

“Fighting in court costs money which, I don’t have. Simple,” the straight-talking retired military man said. “How can you fight a war without ammunition?”

In terms of the order granted by Judge Cheda, an amount of about US$359 526 in the account in Shalli’s name, as well as an amount of US$1 389 in a Zambian bank account in the name of a former diplomatic colleague of Shalli, Elsie Ausiku, were declared forfeited to the State. The accounts were first frozen by the Zambian authorities in May 2009.

Judge Cheda also ordered that the Zambian government should be requested, in terms of an international letter of request to be forwarded to Zambia’s attorney general, to pay the money in the two accounts into Namibia’s Criminal Assets Recovery Fund, which was established by the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The court’s order must now be published in the Government Gazette. The order will take effect 30 days after the publication in the Government Gazette, or once an appeal against the forfeiture order has been decided and dismissed.

Prosecutor General Martha Imalwa is claiming in an affidavit filed with the court that the money in Shalli’s account is proceeds from the crimes of corruption, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

While Shalli has not filed an affidavit in response to Imalwa’s statement, he has said in another affidavit filed with the court that he is confidant that he would be acquitted, should he be criminally prosecuted.

A statement in which Shalli gave an explanation of the origin of the money in the account is also part of the documents that the prosecutor general has filed with the court. Shalli told a senior police officer that the money paid into his account was rental income that he received from a Chinese company, Poly Technologies Incorporated (Poly Tech), after he agreed in March 2008 to rent his house in Suiderhof in Windhoek to the Chinese company for a 10-year period.

Imalwa is claiming that as chief of the NDF Shalli knew he was not allowed to receive money from Poly Tech, either as rental income or as a commission. Poly Tech had a contract to supply military equipment to the NDF at a cost of US$126,4 million.

In the international letter of request to be sent to the Zambian government, of which a copy is attached to the forfeiture order, it is stated that an investigation has revealed that Poly Tech paid about US$500 000 into Shalli’s account in two instalments in October 2008 and February 2009.

The first deposit was reflected as being “Commission”, while the second was reflected in abbreviated form as “Comm”. With both deposits part of the reference number of the contract between the Ministry of Defence and Poly Tech was also reflected.

Imalwa is also alleging that Shalli tried to disguise the origin of the money he received from Poly Tech by having it paid into his bank account in Zambia, that he used two former colleagues from the time he was Namibia’s high commissioner in Zambia to have the money brought to Namibia in an attempt to avoid it being detected, and that he did not declare the additional income for tax purposes in Namibia.

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