NIGEL van Wyk, who earned a salary of N$41 000 per month as an errand boy for former justice minister, Sacky Shanghala, has been slapped with an additional charge of money laundering while formally applying for bail.
Van Wyk, who stands accused of attempting to remove evidence from the house of his disgraced boss after spending the past five months behind bars, was testifying on the merits of him receiving bail when it was revealed that he received questionable payments from dubious sources.
He was arrested towards the end of December 2019 when police officers found him busy removing evidence from Shanghala’s house in Windhoek.
At the time Shanghala, one of the main suspects in the Fishrot corruption scandal, was still incarcerated at the Seeis Police Station Van Wyk’s legal representative, Jermaine Muchali, confirmed that the additional charge of money laundering was added to his client’s charge sheet.
While Van Wyk testified he revealed that an amount of N$697 811.57 was paid into his personal bank account between January 2018 and December 2019 from Otwafika Logistics, a company co-owned by Shanghala and Hatuikulipi.
With regards to the additional charge it will be the State’s case that van Wyk was well aware of the fact the money was the proceeds from corrupt or illegal activities.
In his defence, Van Wyk said the money was not a once off payment, but that it was paid into his account in instalments to be used as petty cash, for the maintenance of the farm, domestic and farmworker salaries, food for the farm dogs, car washes and so forth.
According to the applicant the farm, which falls under Oleya Investments, did not have a bank account until last year February. He was adamant that the money was not for his personal use.
Van Wyk said he can provide the court with all the invoices used for the transactions to maintain the farm.
He denied that he had knowledge of the illegal origin of the money or of his employer’s dubious dealings.
Van Wyk’s first run in with the law was last year in November when Shanghala and Hatuikulipi were arrested on their farm.
At the time he was arrested and charged with obstructing the course of justice because he physically interfered with police officers executing the arrest of Shanghala and Hatuikulipi.
According to his version of events investigators from the Anti-Corruption Commission showed up at the farm, found him in a room and instructed him to open the main house.
“I think I took some time to unlock the house. Maybe because I was too slow they ended up charging me. I still to date don’t know what I did. I was subsequently released on a warning,” Van Wyk testified.
The state argued that Van Wyk, during his second arrest at Shanghala’s house in Windhoek, lied to the ACC investigator by telling him that the keys to the house were already sent to the North. As such, the investigating officer could not conduct a proper search.
Van Wyk’s defence on this argument was that he was merely acting on instructions to set up a new office for Shanghala as he had just resigned from his job as the Minister of Justice.
“It is very simple. I was just doing my job. My boss, who is also my co-accused in this matter, instructed me to prepare an office for him the day before he got arrested because he had resigned from the Ministry of Justice in November. I was going there to simply get documents and set up an office at Hanganeni. I called his girlfriend, who at the time informed me that she was at his house. Shanghala thought he would get bail. I was just following instructions,” Van Wyk said.
Van Wyk denied any plot to remove evidence from the house, saying that although he had been visiting Shanghala in prison every day to bring his employer food, that there were never any discussions about sabotaging investigations between the two of them during the visits.
The applicant informed the court that he intends to enter a plea of not guilty and maintained that if bail should be granted that he would cooperate with investigators. He further stated that he intends on finishing his studies and to again support his family.
It was also revealed during his testimony that Van Wyk, who used to work at the Office of the Attorney-General under Shanghala before he became the justice minister, left his job to work privately for Shanghala. He testified that while working as an errand boy for the former minister, he earned a salary of N$41 000 per month after deductions.
The formal bail application is set to continue before Magistrate Ivan Gawanab today.