ECN 'pawn star' still on suspension

• Louw accused of selling electoral body's computers

16 October 2020 | Politics

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



The Electoral Commission of Namibia's technical director, Milton Louw, is still on suspension after he allegedly pawned laptops belonging to the commission.

Louw allegedly sold five of the commission's laptops at a local pawnshop last December after the national elections. The ECN's chief electoral officer, Theo Mujoro, yesterday confirmed that Louw was still on suspension, with pay, pending the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing. “Mr Louw remains on suspension.

The internal disciplinary proceedings against Mr Louw are still ongoing,” said Mujoro.

Mujoro added that a criminal investigation was running parallel to the disciplinary procedure. “Similarly, as you know there is a criminal case being pursued by the Namibian police against Mr Louw and you may contact that institution for details,” said Mujoro.

Mujoro said Louw's position had been filled temporarily. “That area is well covered, we have an information communication manager on board,” Mujoro said.



Conspiracy theorist

When Namibian Sun talked to Louw earlier this year, he claimed he had taken the computers to Cash Converters in an attempt to ensure that the laptops would end up safely in police custody. When asked why he did not take the laptops straight to police, he claimed it was part of an elaborative strategy to ensure the ECN would not be able to get hold of the computers to alter any of the election results.

This is despite Cash Converters confirming that Louw, after paying all the money due to the shop, received the laptops back before the elections were held.



Stolen votes

The shop did not reveal the dates on which the computers were returned to Louw, or the amount for which they were pawned, citing client confidentiality. Louw claimed in the interview with Namibian Sun that “for every vote cast, two were stolen”. Louw had bragged that he took the machines to Cash Converters intentionally because of his background as a hacker. “I come from a family of thieves. I stole when I was 15,” Louw said at his home, when interviewed at the time.