River-crossing fugitive in custody

• Faces financial crime charges

06 August 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Immanuel David, a Namibian-born South African passport holder who entered the country illegally by crossing the Orange River in a canoe in June, has been formally charged following his recovery from Covid-19.

The charges were delayed while he was in a government isolation facility because this would have compelled police to bring him to court while sick.

David appeared in the Karasburg Magistrate's Court on 14 July and now faces more serious charges, in addition to those related to sneaking into the country through an undesignated entry point.

Namibian Sun reported in June that David's initial arrest, a day after arriving in Namibia illegally, placed South African police authorities, who believe he is linked to a N$65 million robbery in that country in 2015, on tenterhooks.

Police sources also claim David was found with huge amounts of money – some putting it at as much as N$7 million.



Charges, others involved

Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, yesterday confirmed that David has been charged under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act for the acquisition, possession or use of proceeds of unlawful activities and contravening the Customs and Excise Act for failing to declare goods.

He was also charged for contravening the Immigration Control Act for entering Namibia through an ungazetted point and contravening the Covid-19 regulations.





Two more persons, Petrus Erastus and Immanuel Thomas, were also arrested and appeared in court over alleged crimes linked to David.

The two men are accused of having facilitated the arrival of David in Namibia as well as being responsible for his transport from Keetmanshoop to Windhoek.

No charges were opened against former Fishcor acting CEO Paulus Ngalangi, who was said to have picked David up from the Orange River after he crossed to the Namibian side of the border.

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste ordered the Fishcor board of directors to remove Ngalangi from the position of CEO following his alleged involvement in the matter.

A police officer, who allegedly accompanied Ngalangi to the Orange River, was expected to face internal disciplinary action from police authorities.



Criminal links

Reports that David was in some way linked to the Fishrot bribery scandal have not been officially confirmed.

Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga had at the time told Namibian Sun it was believed that David was linked to criminal activities in South Africa following his apprehension.

“Contact with our counterparts in South Africa has taken place, but only on an emergency basis. The detailed and formal communication is being prepared,” he said.

“We are collaborating with the South African police because he [David] is wanted there. He seems to be part of a bigger criminal syndicate,” Ndeitunga added.

At the time of David's arrest, Ndeitunga said the suspect did not want to cooperate with the police, prompting for the Special Reserve Force of the police to be called in.

“It was only after the Special Reserve Force was called in that he started giving bits of information. The whole of Saturday [13 June] was spent interrogating him,” he said.