‘Connected’ Tilahun Jr refuses to take breathalyser test

03 June 2021 | Justice

STAFF REPORTER



WINDHOEK

Police in Khomas have initiated an internal probe after Haddis Tilahun Jr., the son of a rich Windhoek family who refused to take an alcohol breathalyser test and was charged with assaulting uniformed officers, was granted bail hours after his detention.

Khomas Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner Ismael Basson, confirmed the investigation, saying the officer who granted bail was summoned over the matter.

Tilahun Jr, son of millionaire couple Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun and Haddis Tilahun, was arrested on Saturday night on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol along David Meroro Street.

Traffic officers told their bosses that Tilahun Jr drove through red traffic lights and was stopped and asked to take a breathalyser test, which he refused to do.

Police officers allege that the 28-year-old Tilahun Jr assaulted them by “throwing punches” at them before they finally overcame him and forced him into a police vehicle to take him to Katutura State Hospital for a blood test.

Upon arrival at hospital, Tilahun Jr blatantly refused to take blood tests and “continued to throw punches” until the doctor gave up, officers allege.

He was then taken to the Windhoek police station where seven charges were opened against him.

Long rap sheet

He was charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, refusal to have his blood sample taken by an authorised medical doctor, refusal to provide a specimen of breath on request of a traffic officer in uniform, obstructing the course of justice, obstructing police officers while performing their duties, assaulting uniformed police officers while performing their duties and resisting lawful arrest.

He allegedly told police officers that he was the son of powerful parents and that the charges will fall flat.

Namibian Sun can confirm that Tilahun Jr was released on N$8 000 bail the night after his parents claimed that he enjoys diplomatic immunity from arrest.

With anger raging among junior officers over the perceived soft treatment of Tilahun Jr, especially given the gravity of the charges and his alleged blatant disrespect of officers, the matter was discussed by police chiefs on Monday at a management meeting.

“Everyone in management was not happy. The prosecutor-general was informed too and she’s not happy. The officer who granted bail was summoned to the commander’s office to explain among others why bail was only granted for drunken driving while there were six other charges,” a senior traffic cop told his irate juniors in a communication seen by Namibian Sun.

Basson yesterday said he was “not happy” with the manner the matter was handled on the night.

“The matter was discussed at management level and we have started an internal investigation. The officer who granted the suspect bail was summoned and action to be taken will be dependent on the outcome of the probe,” he told Namibian Sun yesterday.

When approached for comment, Tilahun Jr threatened legal action against this newspaper if it went ahead with publishing the story without his “consent”.

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