By Megameno Shikwambi
Youthful entrepreneur Michael Amushelelo has issued an urgent court application seeking to block the issuing of two search warrants as the net closes around his business empire after being arrested on several charges around money laundering.
He has informed the court that search warrants that led to loss of his properties have left him paralysed with all six vehicles gone along with computers with “critical information”.
He has said that the search warrants are not lawful.
Amushelelo was arrested last week together with his colleague Gregory Cloete by law enforcement agents and slept in holding cells before being bailed out with an amount of N$35 000.
His court appearance and that of Cloete was carried out behind closed doors after police officers kept the media outside at the magistrate court where a groundswell of relatives, sympathisers and interested parties had converged to catch a glimpse of him.
Events have moved quite fast and this week Thursday, an application surfaced, wherein he has cited as respondents, the Prosecutor General of the Magistrate Court, the Bank of Namibia, the Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre and the commanding officer of the Anti-Money Laundering Sub-division of the Namibian police.
Amushelelo is represented by legal firm, Sisa Namandje Incorporated.
“In view of the fact that the Applicants have effectively been denuded of all their properties and critical personal and business documents, this application was prepared under pressure of time.
It was also prepared against the backdrop that I was arrested in the morning of 10 October 2019, having been informed initially by the arresting officer that I was being picked up only for questioning on suspicion I may have committed offences under section 5 and 55A of the Banking Institutions Act, No 2 of 1998 (as amended),” Amushelelo said.
He has also told court that some of his businesses which had nothing to do with allegations against him had also been shut down on the day of the search of seizure, and their business information, facilities and properties were taken from the joint business address at No 404, 4th floor, Maerua Mall, Erf 43 Gamsa Street Klein Kuppe.
The under-fire businessman, who is also founder of a political party named POWER, invoked the constitution of the land suggesting he reserved a right to fair and reasonable public actions, the right for one to carry on business activities, as well as the right to privacy.
Arguing his case against the two search warrants, Amushelelo said when it comes to issues of search and seizure, the Namibian Constitution under Article 13 prohibited interference with the privacy of people’s homes, correspondences and communications.
Having laid the constitutional tone to his case, the entrepreneur told court that he has explored opportunities, “including opportunities that are regarded by others as not open for everyone and difficult to undertake, online Forex trade is one such businesses.”
He also revealed that he carries out his businesses using four companies, including IT services and forex banking at his office.
He further revealed that he conducts his forex business on a foreign exchange platform through an agent in Cyprus and that these transactions occur online daily.
“I am only explaining this to simply show that my business activities are not unlawful.
I have explained this to the Bank of Namibia during communication with them including two meetings which were held with the Bank of Namibia’s officials during August 2018, they understood my explanation.
They promised to revert back to me if there was something else. They did not revert to me until I was arrested by members of the Namibian police,” he explains.
Amushelelo further said he conducted his business under a phrase he coined as “Project One Million” saying that he receives money from members of the public as loans in order to trade on the international currency market.
“The money is deposited into the account of Amushe International Holding Group Pty Ltd held at First National Bank and after two months they receive their money with 50% interest on the principal amount.
The idea behind Project One Million is to enable my fellow Namibians to make more from their money by earning an interest in a loan advanced to Global Growth Namibia Pty Ltd. When I see the market is good and when profits are made on the market, I would then withdraw the profits and deposit into Amushe International Holding Group Pty Ltd until it is time to repay clients depending on the acknowledgement of debt in place with a specific client,” he explains.
Amushelelo has said that the searches at his Maerua Mall place, and Kleine Kuppe have netted hundreds of documents and a volume of electronic data.
Cars that have been taken in include a BMW 1 series bearing registration number Forex Na, a Range Rover Land Rover series, model 5.0L with registration number Forex 2, a Mercedes Benz W176 model bearing registration number Forex 4 Na, a BMW 3 series 328i, registration number Forex 3 Na, an Audi A4 (Forex 6) and a Mercedes Benz (Forex 12 Na).
More equipment seized also includes Lenovo laptops, four iPhone cell phones, an iPad, a Dell Computer and two HP Printers.
The documents seized include investment contracts and ID copies of investors together with cash and various other goods including five wrist watches.