Ex-general implicated in Ekandjo’s missing cattle
30 July 2021 | Justice
Former minister Jerry Ekandjo’s name has surfaced in court as one of the possible victims in a stock theft case in which former Namibia Defence Force (NDF) Major-General Thomas Hamuyela is the main accused person.
Namibian Sun uncovered a suspected stock theft syndicate in the Kavango regions, in which government veterinary services officials are also fingered.
Ekandjo’s name popped up in the Ndiyona Periodic Court record early this year when Hamunyela was arrested on 12 January for allegedly stealing five cattle at Mutorwa village in Kavango West.
Hamunyela is represented by prominent lawyer Sisa Namandje in this case, which the Rundu Magistrate’s Court this week postponed to 21 October for further police investigations.
According to court records, State prosecutor, Advocate Johan Pienaar, at the time asked Hamunyela whether he was aware about cattle belonging to Ekandjo being found on his farm.
Hamunyela told the court that he heard of Ekandjo’s cattle being found on Abraham Ndere’s farm.
“My farm is 83 kilometres from Jerry’s farm. I am hearing this for the first time that the police came to say the cattle of Jerry were found on my farm,” Hamunyela responded.
“There was a case of former minister Ekandjo having lost cattle, but I am not too sure who the culprit is and where the cattle were found,” Kavango West police commander, Commissioner Josephat Abel, said.
Meanwhile, Ekandjo said the matter was sub judice and refused to comment on it.
“Anything I say can boomerang in the court. It’s still sub judice I am told,” he said briefly.
The State is adamant it has a strong case against Hamunyela after ear tags were found on cattle which were allegedly stolen from Sipipa Thadeus Naironga.
Kanyetu Nicolaus Ndara, the police officer who testified during the bail hearing, told the court that they found the cattle in question with ear tags belonging to Hamunyela, while those belonging to Naironga were removed and some burnt.
One of the state witnesses is a veterinary service official whose name is known by this publication.
Stock theft syndicate
Ndara told the court there appears to be a syndicate involving veterinary services officials who make ear tags available to the culprits, who then commit stock theft.
He further testified that when they enquired about the ear tags belonging to Hamunyela, they were back dated to 2017, while others were back dated to 1 January 2019. This, he said, is questionable seeing that 1 January is a public holiday.
Commissioner Abel agreed with Ndara’s sentiments, adding that the police are hard at work investigating the syndicate.
“There is a problem with the ear tags. There is a syndicate where we are also investigating people at the veterinary. There is a loophole which is why the stock theft is going on,” he explained.
On Hamunyela’s ear tags, Abel said the issue is that the former army general had spare ear tags, which he put on other cattle and this is why he was charged.
“The ear tags which were found on the cattle was that of the general and that is pure stock theft. Even if you buy cattle, you must leave the ear tag of the former owner on and if you remove it, you must give it back.
“I also heard there are people saying that the police did not have a case against the general. We do have a case and it’s now up to the army general to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court. It’s how it works,” he said.