Grafters get bail from Nam court

Windhoek - A Namibian court on Tuesday granted bail to two Namibians and a Chinese national suspected in a corruption probe involving a firm linked to the son of China's President Hu Jintao.

"All three suspects are granted bail, and once paid are to be released," said Magistrate Gerhard van Pletzen on the second day of the trio's bail hearing in the capital Windhoek.

The three were arrested last month in Namibia as part of the probe into bribery allegations involving Nuctech, a company headed until last year by Hu's 38-year-old son, Hu Haifeng.

Nuctech representative Yang Fan was granted bail of 250 000 Namibian dollars (US$31 652), while Namibian nationals Teckla Lameck and Jerobeam Mokaxwa each got bail of 50 000 Namibian dollars.

Van Pletzen ordered the three to hand in their passports and to report to the police twice a day. They are not allowed to leave Namibia, but may travel within the country.

Public prosecutor Andrew Muvirimi on Monday opposed bail, arguing that the trio "may abscond from Namibia to other countries".

'We fear they may interfere with investigations'

"Investigations are still at an initial stage and we fear that Lameck and Yang may interfere with police investigations if out on bail," Muvirimi added.

The Namibian High Court will on Friday rule whether to release the frozen assets of the three suspects.

Nuctech won a contract to supply the Namibian government with security scanning equipment in a US$55.3m deal, paid for with a Chinese loan granted when President Hu visited the country in 2007.

Their arrest came after the southern African state's Anti-Corruption Commission alleged that a US$12.8m down payment on 13 scanners had been diverted to a firm called Teko Trading, equally owned by Lameck and Mokaxwa.

All three accused later drew large sums from the Teko account, with Yang taking 16.8m Namibian dollars, most of which he paid into an investment fund, investigators said.

Hu's son was president of Nuctech until last year, when he was promoted to Communist Party secretary of Tsinghua Holdings, which controls Nuctech and more than 20 other companies.

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