WINDHOEK - A policeman is under probe for allegedly extorting N$60 000 from six suspects implicated in a gangster-style armed robbery in which they allegedly stole N$487 320 at gunpoint from a shopping centre in Pionierspark.
The robbery took place last November at West Lane shopping complex.
The six suspects claim the investigating officer (name known to New Era but withheld as he is yet to be criminally charged) in their case reportedly extorted N$10 000 from each of them. Payments were allegedly made ‘to facilitate and quicken the release of the accused from police custody.’
The six accused are Kubeka Mthokosizi, Lukas Ndlovu, Khumalo Vincent Martin, Shane Ntandoyenkosi Moyo, Vusi Vuthelezi David and Mguni Sibusiso Pumuzile.
They face charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, pointing of a firearm, theft, attempted murder and unlawfully discharging a firearm in a public place.
In a statement made under oath, the wife of David Vusi Buthelezi (one of the six suspects), Siwinile Khumalo, who resides in South Africa, claimed the investigating officer contacted her on December 02, 2017 a day after her husband was arrested. “He said I should pay him N$10 000 for him to release my husband,” said Khumalo.
According to her, she paid N$5 000 to the investigating officer on January 08 and as per their agreement the final payment was to be made after Buthelezi’s release.
Screenshots of conversations attached to the sworn affidavit of Khumalo indicate that N$5 000 was indeed paid into a bank account at Katutura FNB branch belonging to the investigating officer in the case.
The evidence at hand indicates that the investigating officer had been in contact with Khumalo from December 2017 to February this year.
Speaking to New Era on behalf of the group from police custody at Windhoek Correctional Facility, Shane Moyo said the investigating officer used kidnapping tactics to make way for his extortion. “Following our arrest, the investigating officer set out verbal restrictions that we were not allowed to have visitors or make any phone calls,” said Moyo.
For three months in police custody, the six accused were allegedly denied communication with family, friends, the South African High Commission and even their legal counsels as per the investigating officer’s request.
During court proceedings in January and March, then defence attorney Kadhila Amoomo charged that the actions by the investigator were questionable. Amoomo noted at the time that the set of restrictions imposed were unconstitutional and had doubts of the manner in which the investigations were being carried out.
In a letter dated January 31, Khomas Regional Commander, Commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa, explained that the restrictions were imposed because of the complexity and seriousness of the charges the accused are facing.
“The investigation team was compelled by the circumstances at the time to put the restrictive measures in place,” explained Nghishidimbwa.
“There are efforts to curb corruption in the country but will these efforts even bear fruits if some members of the police are soliciting bribes from accused persons?” questioned Moyo.
Moyo noted that the said investigating officer has started intimidating them in prison. “He is defeating the ends of justice and nothing is being done about it. His actions were clearly for self-gratification and enrichment at the expense of justice,” noted Moyo.
The group laid a formal complaint on July 19 with the police but claim that they have not even received a case number and their case seems to have gone cold.
Namibian police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi confirmed that a case has been opened with Nampol’s Internal Investigation Unit. Kanguatjivi informed New Era that no arrests have been made yet. Due to the ongoing investigations, Kanguatjivi said, he cannot go into details of the case but said the investigator is currently under investigation.
2018-10-04 09:06:10 3 months ago