Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The joke marches on. As weazl has said, this case will NEVER get resolved: the unwanted answer to 9/11

Namibia again postpones US software fugitive case

WINDHOEK, July 9 (Reuters) - A Namibian court on Monday postponed yet again the extradition hearing of fugitive U.S. millionaire and ex-software executive Jacob "Kobi" Alexander after proceedings stalled over which judge should hear the case.

Alexander, wanted in the United States in connection with an alleged scheme to backdate millions of executive stock options at Comverse Technology Inc. , has fought extradition since his arrest in the southwestern African nation last year.

The case has been postponed three times and is now set to begin on Aug. 13 in a magistrate court in the Namibian capital Windhoek. Alexander, who faces U.S. charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and other wrongdoing, is free on bail.

The decision to delay the hearing came hours after defence lawyers argued that Petrus Unengu, who was appointed by Namibia's justice minister to hear the extradition, be removed from the case because his appointment threatened judicial independence and Alexander's right to a fair trial.

Unengu is Namibia's chief of lower courts.

"Our contention is that the chief of the lower courts is not a magistrate," defence attorney Peter Hodes told the court. He added that there could be a "reasonable" expectation of bias because Unengu was a public servant in the Ministry of Justice.

The defence wants Uaatjo Uanivi, the magistrate who freed the Israeli-born Alexander on bail of $1.4 million last October, to oversee the hearing.

Alexander, the founder and former chief executive of New York-based Comverse has kept a high profile in Namibia, where he has pledged to invest $14 million in business and charitable projects through his Kobi Alexander Enterprises venture.

Namibia's government has described Alexander as "very passionate" about the country and its 2.1 million people.

Critics, however, say he has tried to buy support in Namibia and avoid extradition by funding aid projects and making promises of future investments.

Original article posted here.

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