Plots thickens in N$800K FNB theft

13 July 2018 | Justice

The 29-year-old man, who is accused of stealing N$800 000 in cash from an FNB branch in Oshakati, resigned immediately after he was placed on suspension over the missing money.

This was revealed in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court by George Shivute during his formal bail application before Magistrate Walter Mikiti.

Shivute, who was employed as an ATM custodian, was served with a suspension letter on 22 June, following the disappearance of the cash, and he subsequently resigned from the bank.

He was arrested four days later on 26 June and is currently in police custody.

Shivute is facing a count of theft and a charge of attempting to defeat the course of justice, after N$800 000, which was a portion of the N$1 060 000 he was entrusted to load onto an ATM on 24 April, disappeared.

He is also accused of tampering with the CCTV camera and alarm system that monitors the ATM into which the cash was to have been loaded.

During cross-examination by state prosecutor Mpule Siyomunji, Shivute claimed he has no knowledge of why he was arrested.

He informed the court his highest education qualification is a grade 12 certificate and he has no property on his name.

He is the father of an 8-month-old baby.

Shivute also informed the court he does not remember the events of 24 April and that he will remain silent on the allegations until his trial.

He also denied signing an acknowledgement of debt, which was provided in court, in which he indicated he agreed to be indebted to the bank for an amount of N$800 000.

He further denied the accusation that he had informed the bank he used the money to buy two cars.

The state is opposing bail on the grounds that it has a strong case against the accused.

The state also fears he may abscond, that he may interfere with ongoing investigations and that granting him bail will not be in the public interest or in the interest of the administration of justice.

The police investigator in the matter, Hamunyela Haitange, testified he agrees with the prosecutor.

During cross-examination by the defence lawyer Marcia Amupolo, Haitange alleged attempts had already been made by the mother of the accused to interfere with police investigations.

He testified that Shivute's mother and brother came to the police station on 2 July and accused the investigator of being involved in the disappearance of the bank's money.

Haitange said if bail is granted to the accused, who was employed at FNB for 11 years, he is very likely to interfere with investigations directly or indirectly, because of his knowledge and the loyalty he has built up with colleagues over the years.

Haitange said 12 more ATMs still need to be investigated and it is therefore not the best time to grant the accused bail.

Submissions were completed yesterday and judgement is expected today.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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