Vigilant policing has led to the confiscation of a big consignment of illicit alcohol, traditional brew, dependence producing drugs and cigarettes during stage 2 of the proclaimed state of emergency to contain Covid-19.
Regional crime Investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Chrispin Mumbebo said the illicit goods confiscated include, amongst others, alcohol, cannabis, mandrax tablets and illicit cigarettes contraband. “It is difficult to determine the total value of these illicit products as we do not know for what price they are being sold on the black market,” explained Mubebo. He said those mainly apprehended are South African citizens in possession of illicit tobacco products (cigarettes). “These people are crossing the Orange river at our borders to buy cigarettes for purposes of selling it back at home at massive prices since cigarettes are banned in South Africa as one of its state of emergency restrictions,” he told New Era. He also said these cigarettes have been confiscated by law enforcement officers and the suspects are in detention. He said the main challenge faced by the police is the illegal selling of alcohol that persist in the region; they have also confiscated large consignments of cigarettes.
“This alcohol is being stored at various police facilities in the region, sending out the message to the public that the police will never condone illegal sale of alcohol during the current state of emergency,” said the deputy commissioner. Mumbebo also said if they find people in possession of illicit alcohol, it will be confiscated, whilst such person(s) will receive a fine of N$2 000. “When we found there was an element of transaction involved; thus, when alcohol was sold to another person that we will confiscate it and open a case against both the seller and buyer,” he emphasised.
The deputy confiscated alcohol can be used as evidence in court, sold at a public auction or destroyed pending the finalisation of such cases in court. He said another challenge experienced is that of the public’s reluctance to adhere to restrictions allowing only a maximum of ten people at any public gathering.
They (citizens) might regard police as inconsiderate, especially during funerals, but it’s for the best of the nation at large that these restrictions are enforced,” said.
Mubebo said should a person contract the coronavirus at larger gatherings, as has been proven in other countries, it may have devastating consequences in the entire country. Mubebo urged the public to adhere to these regulations/restrictions as the Namibian police force will leave no stone untouched to persecute those not complying. Statistics availed indicated that 19 fines were issued in terms of the regulation of prohibitions relating to liquor: two in terms of not wearing face masks, three in terms of hindering or obstructing the enforcement of law, one in terms of transportation of goods and services, and one in terms of the gathering of more than ten persons. These fines amounted to N$2 000 for each transgression.