WINDHOEK – The trial of prominent Windhoek lawyer Dirk Conradie and his long-time friend Sara Ngenohani Damases resumed in the Windhoek High Court yesterday with Kim Fields, the partner of Mark Bongers who taped a conversation he had with Conradie, facing cross-examination.
Fields was grilled by South African senior counsel Vas Soni on behalf of Conradie.
Soni is using various tricks to make it seem that Fields and Bongers were interested in the proposition Conradie and Damases made to them, to the extent that they extended the meeting, contrary to their claims they just wanted to get out of there as the context of the meeting had apparently made them uncomfortable.
He further accused Fields of being amenable to the discussions after Damases introduced herself as the wife of Judge President Petrus Damaseb, but that after she was informed that Damases was the former wife of the judge president who was no longer a partner in Conradie’s law firm, they lost interest.
Fields merely repeated the testimony of Bongers that they only attended the meeting out of courtesy as Conradie was the chairman of the MTC Board and they had submitted a bid for the advertising contract, but were totally unprepared for the context of the meeting.
Conradie and Damases face three counts of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act for allegedly attempting to bribe Bongers and his wife and business partner Kim Fields with a massive advertising contract from MTC if they took Damases on board as a BEE partner.
Bongers made a recording of a meeting he and Fields had with Conradie and Damases in the office of Conradie on 12 June 2012 and subsequently reported the alleged bribe to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
In the recording Conradie can be heard asking Bongers and his business and life partner, Fields, whether they have a BEE partner and when Bongers answered in the negative, saying that he can provide them with one, Conradie can be heard saying that DV8 Saatchi & Saatchi, the company of Bongers and Fields, is not the favourite to win the MTC advertising contract worth an estimated N$60 million at the time, but he could apparently change it in their favour.
The meeting apparently took place after Damases approached Bongers at his office with a “message from the MTC chairman”.
According to Fields, she and Bongers only agreed to the meeting out of curiosity and because Damases introduced herself as the wife of Judge President Petrus Damaseb and as an independent consultant for MTC.
Conradie allegedly told Bongers during the meeting that he will use his position as chair of the MTC Board to ensure that the advertising agency owned by Bongers and Fields gets the telecommunication giant’s N$60 million advertising tender in turn for them taking Damases on board as a black economic empowerment (BEE) equity in their company. They were arrested in June 2012 after Bongers and Fields allegedly availed a tape recording of Conradie, allegedly soliciting a bribe from them, to the ACC.
The trial continues today and Fields is set to face another barrage of cross-examination from Vetu Uanivi on behalf of Damases. Judge Thomas Masuku is presiding and State