Journalist detained over ‘dagga seeds’

Home Crime and Courts Journalist detained over ‘dagga seeds’

By Helvy Shaanika

ONGWEDIVA – A northern based freelance journalist claims to have spent at least four days in police custody after he was arrested by members of Namibian Police Drug Enforcement Unit on suspicion of being in possession of cannabis.

Kennedy Erkana who freelances for Informanté and Confidenté claims to have been arrested together with the owner of the house where he stays in Oshikango after 10 seeds of cannabis were allegedly found in the house. 

Erkana says he was locked up in a cell with a mentally disturbed man, fell and injured his back while in custody and was only released after four days with no explanation offered, following the police raid on his house.

“They told us that they were arresting us on charges of possessing cannabis, but in real essence we don’t know whether they really found the seeds in the house or they planted them, because we followed them as they searched the house only for them to ‘find’ some seeds under a sofa in the sitting room after the search was almost completed,” he said.

Erkana said police came knocking at the house on grounds they wanted to search the house as part of a police routine check. 

“I asked them for identification and if they had a search warrant. They did not have a search warrant but when they showed us their work identification cards we cooperated and let them in,” said Erkana.

After the initial search was carried out with no cannabis found, one of the police officers claimed to have found some dagga seeds underneath a sofa in the sitting room, according to Erkana.

It was then that one of the police officers allegedly started to boast that he came all the way from Windhoek to arrest Erkana and his “partner” as they were “big drug dealers”.

The two were arrested even after the landlord told the police he would take responsibility since it was his house.

Erkana claims that his life and that of his friend were exposed to danger while in police custody

The following Monday, only his co-accused was allegedly asked to appear in court and released as there was no case against him, while Erkana had to spend the whole day “in the corridors with no chair or toilet”.

He was later taken back to the cells with no explanation offered, until Tuesday evening when he was told he was free to go – with no explanation offered.

“I tried to get explanations from the police and from the public prosecutor but no one could offer me any. Now at work I’m asked to provide reasons for being absent.

“I also lost a lot of money because I bought stock to sell some refreshments at the Okapuka Tournament as it was supposed to take place that weekend, but my things went to waste as I was kept in prison for no reason,” said Erkana who also works as a warehouse manager in Oshikango.

Deputy Regional Commander for Ohangwena Region, Deputy Commissioner Abner Agas, said he was not aware of Erkana’s claims. He however advised Erkana to contact his lawyer for advice.