Three Angolan women, caught with over N$2.2 million in foreign currencies, have denied any wrongdoing when they took the stand in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court.
Maria Combua (46) Helena Samba Pintal (35) and Beatriz Antunes (47) all tendered a not guilty plea when they submitted their preliminary pleas before the presiding magistrate Davy Kambinda.
The group currently faces two charges of unlawful export of currency and disguising unlawful origin of a property.
During court proceedings, the group were informed that their docket will be summarised and forwarded to the prosecutor general’s office for a final decision on whether or not to prosecute them.
“We are required to allow a period of three months for the prosecutor general’s decision. We ask that the matter be remanded to 12 June,” stated state prosecutor Edel Upindi.
Magistrate Kambinda set down the matter to 12 June for the prosecutor general to make a ruling. The court further informed the accused that their matter will be heard at Windhoek Magistrate’s Court.
Combua and her fellow countrywomen were arrested last year December at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) after being found in possession of large sums of unexplained money.
The group were allegedly found in possession of US$150 190 (N$2 162 736), € 6250 (N$1 001 11.05) and N$4 083 in their possession. In total, the accused were found with N$2 262 847.05.
According to the investigating officer Detective Seargent Erwin Serogwe, the accused failed to declare the amount of money in their possession, which the police believes is from illegal activities.
According to Serongwe, Combua and her co-accused almost got away if it was not for Combua who triggered the scanners with her metal hair clip.
This allegedly forced the immigration officers to conduct a thorough search to determine what had caused the scanners to go off. That is when they discovered the money. Pintal and Antunes got caught when they went searching for Combua.
The group had allegedly hidden the money in their brassieres, disposable diapers (that they were wearing), in between shoe soles and waistbands. More money was found in the accused’s handbags that were hidden in their luggage.
In their defence, the accused claimed the money is from their different businesses and that they were on their way to China to buy merchandise for their businesses.