Arrested fugitive linked to N$65 million SA robbery

The plot thickens regarding the coronavirus-positive suspect who tried escaping the jaws of South African law by canoe.

18 June 2020 | Crime

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

The arrest of Immanuel David, a Namibian-born South African passport holder, on Saturday has placed on tenterhooks South African police authorities who believe he is linked to a N$65 million robbery in that country in 2015.

Police records in South Africa also show that David, who tested positive for Covid-19 after a routine check-up in Windhoek over the weekend, was also charged for drunk driving and assault in that country.

//Karas police regional commander Jacob Indongo said yesterday that David was a wanted fugitive in South Africa prior to his illegal crossing into Namibia.

It is believed that part of the reason he avoided going through the designated border post at Noordoewer was because he is wanted by the South African police.

Namibian police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga told Namibian Sun yesterday that they were in contact with the South African police over David.

“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 South African police because he is wanted there. He seems to be part of a bigger criminal syndicate,” Ndeitunga added.

David was arrested on Saturday after he allegedly crossed into the country via the Orange River using a canoe on Friday night.

Local help

Waiting for him on the Namibian side of the river were the acting CEO of National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), Paulus Ngalangi, and an unidentified police officer attached to the Namibian police’s tourism unit at Lüderitz, Namibian Sun has established.

“Ngalangi was contacted by South African gangs to make arrangements to have David picked up from the river,” a police general told Namibian Sun yesterday.

It is alleged that David arrived with a huge sum of money – with some claiming it is as much as N$7 million – from which he allegedly paid bribes to Ngalangi and the unnamed police officer. The two face charges of accepting bribes and abetting illegal crossing of David into Namibia.

Investigators quarantined

Ndeitunga said preliminary investigations into the matter have been hampered by the fact that police officers involved in the matter had to be quarantined after David tested positive.

“All officers who dealt with him in //Karas and Khomas regions had to be quarantined, so this leaves a gap in our investigations,” he said.

Special Field Force called in

Ndeitunga said David 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 Field Force was called in that he started giving bits of information. The whole of Saturday was spent interrogating him,” he said.

Bank of Namibia reverts to Stage 1

Yesterday the Bank of Namibia announced it had reverted to stage one regulations of the coronavirus state of emergency after it was established that David had stayed at the ‘77 on Independence’ apartments, where a group of bank officials reside.

In an internal memo circulated this morning, the communication department informed staff members that in light of the latest developments, the bank would revert to stage one regulations as a precaution, allowing essential employees to work from home from the premises for next 14 days.

“At the same time, the bank will revert to hosting virtual meetings and avoid face-to-face meetings with stakeholders in all interactions. Additionally, the bank premises will be disinfected,” the memo read.

BoN spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka emphasised that not one of their staff members are known to have come in contact with the infected person.

Jooste withdraws Ngalangi’s appointment

Yesterday public enterprises minister Leon Jooste confirmed that he had directed the Fishcor board to withdraw the appointment of Ngalangi as acting CEO of the company, which is at the centre of investigations into the so-called Fishrot saga.

Ngalangi, Fishcor’s finance general manager, was appointed to lead the beleaguered parastatal after another acting CEO, Mike Nghipunya, was arrested in connection with the Fishrot bribery debacle.

“I've instructed my office to withdraw the appointment immediately,” he said. He was responding to Namibian Sun questions on why Ngalangi, under whose reign as finance general manager Fishcor channelled N$75.6 million in dubious transactions to various entities being investigated, was allowed to act as CEO.

“He was already acting CEO [when he was arrested]… we instructed for that to be withdrawn when we were made aware of the arrest,” the minister said.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) spokesperson Josefina Nghituwamata yesterday said the commission was closely watching the situation of David’s arrest, amid allegations that the fugitive is in some way connected to the Fishrot scandal.

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