No arrests in Grootfontein fraud case

21 June 2019 | Crime

No arrests have been made yet in the fraud case involving N$150 000 that was transferred from the Grootfontein municipality’s bank account to fraudsters.

This was confirmed yesterday by Otjozondjupa police spokesperson Inspector Maureen Mbeha, who said the matter is still under investigation.

“According to the investigating officer, they are still busy with the investigation and no arrest has been made yet,” Mbeha said.

This case has been under investigation since March.

Last month Namibian Sun reported that the municipality had become the victim of a fraud scam in which fraudsters submitted a letter to the local authority indicating that the banking details of Rubicon Security, the company that provides security services to it, had changed.

The municipality then made payments into the bank account given by the fraudsters.

According to copies of proof of payments seen by Namibian Sun, Grootfontein municipality acting CEO, Arnold Ameb and chief accountant Martha Hamunyela authorised payment requests submitted by the town’s accountant Serah Hialulwa on two separate occasions.

The first payment of N$74 923.23 was authorised on 29 January and the second for same amount on 27 February.

This matter came to light when Rubicon Security enquired in March why it had not received its payments.

Ameb approached the Grootfontein police on 6 March and opened a case of fraud.

Rubicon Security director Christo Groenewald explained to Namibian Sun last month what had transpired.

Groenewald said they never instructed the municipality to change their banking details.

He added Rubicon’s headquarters are in Tsumeb, while letterheads used by the fraudsters indicated they were in Henties Bay, which he said should have raised alarm.

“So many people are trying their luck to inform a specific debtor that your banking details have changed; we see that a lot in the industry,” he said.

“What you do when you receive such a letter is you should phone that office and make sure you speak to the person that you know to confirm whether the banking details have changed.”

KENYA KAMBOWE