Border bribery syndicate exposed

The curious case of Immanuel David, who entered Namibia illegally from South Africa while infected with Covid-19, has placed the spotlight firmly on how easy it is to bribe your way into the country.

07 August 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK



Namibian authorities have widened their investigation into the case of Immanuel David, who allegedly paid bribes to various individuals so he could enter Namibia illegally.

His bank account, containing a substantial amount of cash, is also under scrutiny.

While two suspects, who allegedly received bribes from Immanuel to assist him, have already been charged, more arrests are expected, Namibian Sun can reveal.

David, who entered the country illegally by crossing the Orange River in a canoe in June, came with a bag of cash, which he allegedly used to bribe his way into the country.

He also had possessions to the value of N$100 000.

David had since June been in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 and was only able to appear in court last month.

His arrest at the 77 on Independence apartment complex, after he was given a lift to Windhoek from near the Noordoewer border post, triggered widespread Covid-19 fears.

There was also unconfirmed speculation at the time that he was somehow linked to the Fishrot bribery saga, but any linkages are yet to emerge in the ongoing police investigation. Also not fully explained was how the country's spy agency was involved in his arrest.

“Investigations are still ongoing, especially with regards to the money.

“There was money he was using to bribe people,” Karasburg Magistrate's Court prosecutor Yeukai Kangira told Namibian Sun yesterday.







It is also alleged that David's bank account also contains huge sums of money, pointing to possible money laundering.



The Namibian-born South African passport holder made his preliminary appearance in court recently and faces several charges relating to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (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 by entering Namibia through an ungazetted point and contravening the Covid-19 regulations.



“Possessions were found on him of more than N$100 000. He also had money on him, how much is the question,” Kangira said.







More arrests anticipated



“Investigations are still ongoing, especially with regards to the money. There was money he was using to bribe people,” Kangira said.



Following his arrival in Namibia, David was picked up from the river by Paulus Ngalangi, then acting CEO of state-owned fishing company Fishcor, and a police officer based in //Karas. Ngalangi has denied any involvement in David's illegal activities, while Petrus Erastus and Immanuel Thomas have been charged with aiding and abetting the fugitive.



“Other potential people could also still be arrested,” Kangira said.







Legal representation



Namibian Sun also understands that three Windhoek-based lawyers have been making enquiries to represent David.



He appeared without any legal representation when he made his first court appearance, and will make a second court appearance later this month.



“He has not pleaded yet; the matter is still under investigation. The charges are preliminary and we are liaising with the prosecutor-general's office,” she said.







Criminal links



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



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



“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 said.



At the time of his 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.

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