Veterinary officials in bed with stock thieves

05 January 2022 | Crime

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU

A stock theft case involving retired major-general Thomas Hamunyela has exposed how public servants employed in the agriculture ministry’s veterinary service directorate at Rundu corruptly used their office for personal gain by collaborating with criminals.

Namibian Sun has been reliably informed that a female employee at the Rundu veterinary office was arrested and charged some time last year.

The Kavango West police commander, Commissioner Josephat Abel, yesterday confirmed the arrest and said he had instructed officers to arrest all veterinary service officials linked to suspected stock theft syndicates.

“I had given an instruction that all those (officials) who are linked to the case be charged. I think they were charged late last year,” Abel said.

Civil claim

Former army general Hamunyela is suing the State for more than N$400 000 for allegedly unlawfully arresting him in January last year for the theft of five cattle.

The matter is scheduled for a status hearing in the Windhoek High Court at the end of this month.

Hamunyela’s civil claim has opened a can of worms exposing veterinary officials who allegedly aided him to commit the crime he is charged with.

Warrant Officer Nicolas Ndara Kanyetu from the Kavango West anti-stock theft division made startling revelations in his testimony, which could lead to the prosecution of at least two veterinary service officials.

Data falsified

Kanyetu testified that he had failed to secure information from the officials at the veterinary office in Rundu when he was investigating Hamunyela’s stock theft case.

He said during his investigation he learnt that the ear tags found on the stolen cattle were registered in Hamunyela’s name. They were backdated to 1 January 2019, which was a public holiday, while they were manually entered in a register on 16 January 2020.

What further puzzled Kanyetu was the fact that Hamunyela was in possession of ear tags which were active on the system yet they were not affixed to any cattle.

“The plaintiff was in possession of ear tags which were already active on the system. The tags were issued by veterinary services and activated though not affixed to cattle.

“I further went to the veterinary services in Rundu to obtain a printout of the observation list and I found the said ear tags on the permit had been tagged on 1 January 2019. This was on a public holiday and it was … written in the register as 16 January 2020. The dates were a major discrepancy.

“I further went to the extent of approaching the official who entered the ear tags on the computer to provide me with the proof where she copied the information. She however failed to provide me with the proof.

“The two officials at the veterinary services failed to avail the relevant information to me. It indicated to me that they are corruptly using office for personal gratification,” Kanyetu testified.

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