South African in court over N$5 million

South African in court over N$5 million

Roland Routh

Windhoek – A South African citizen that worked for Pennypinchers Timbercity in Windhoek and Ongwediva made his first appearance in the Windhoek High Court yesterday on 218 charges of fraud, alternatively theft.

It is alleged Peter Tyran Kohler, 45, defrauded the companies out of N$5.8 million during the period October 9, 2009 to July 9, 2015 by unlawfully and fraudulently transferring the money via the FNB online banking system to either his personal bank accounts or those of his creditors.

Kohler was employed by the Gunnar Jensen Building Materials Trust, trading as Pennypinchers Timbercity Windhoek, during the period March 23, 2009 to February 7, 2013 as the store accountant, and by the Chris Eloff Building Materials Trust, trading as Ongwediva Pennypinchers Timbercity, as the store manager from March 8, 2013 to September 10, 2015 and again as store accountant in Windhoek until September 30, 2015.

During his employ at the companies he allegedly made 218 unlawful transfers of money out of the companies’ bank accounts while he was responsible for the supervision of all accounting, financial, human resource, administrative and relevant compliance duties relating to Pennypinchers Timbercity.

It is further charged the financial responsibilities of Kohler included the capturing and authorisation of bona fide company expenses either via cheque, cash or in most cases electronic fund transfers.

In the first 61 charges it is alleged Kohler on various dates unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud, gave out and pretended to the lawful representatives of Pennypinchers Timbercity Windhoek that amounts totalling N$963 764.71 were due to creditors of the company and thereby caused the company the actual loss of the money.

Alternatively, Kohler stole the money from the company, the charge sheet states.

On charges 62 to 187 it is alleged that Kohler on various dates unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud and under pretence to the lawful representatives of Pennypinchers Timbercity Windhoek that amounts totalling N$3.7 million were due to creditors of the company and thereby caused the company the actual loss of the money.

Alternatively, Kohler stole the money from the company, the charge sheet states.

Regarding charges 188 to 195 it is alleged that Kohler on various dates unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud gave out and pretended to the lawful representatives of Pennypinchers Timbercity Windhoek that amounts totalling N$244 856.56 were due to creditors of the company and thereby caused the company the actual loss of the money.

Alternatively, Kohler stole the money from the company, the charge sheet states.

With regard to charges 196 to 218, it is charged that Kohler on various dates unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud gave out and pretended to the lawful representatives of Pennypinchers Timbercity Ongwediva that amounts totalling N$873 292.72 were due to creditors of the company and thereby caused the company the actual loss of the money. Alternatively, Kohler stole the money from the company, the charge sheet states.

Mese Tjituri, the State-funded legal representative of Kohler, informed Judge Christi Liebenberg that his client indicated to him that he wished to plead guilty to the charges, but that he first needed to read through the disclosure in order to possibly file a Section 122 plea with the court.

The judge postponed the matter to February 6 and gave Tjituri until next week Tuesday to file his reply to the State’s pre-trial memorandum, and until February 3 to file the guilty plea if they still wished to do so.

State Advocate Erich Moyo had no objections to the postponement and Kohler remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-waiting prisoners.

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