Minister in the Presidency Christine //Hoebes, who has been charged with intentionally defacing a Namibian banknote and then illegally posting an image of the defaced banknote on social media, faces a fine of up to N$100 000.
//Hoebes posted an altered N$200 note on social media with the name ‘!Gawaxab’ photoshopped on it after the appointment of Johannes !Gawaxab as the new governor of the Bank of Namibia.
His appointment is effective 1 June 2020.
//Hoebes is charged with violating Section 24 of the Bank of Namibia Act for mutilating a banknote, which carries a fine of up to N$8 000 or up to two years in jail, as well as Section 25 of the Act for unlawfully defacing a note and then producing an image the note, which carries a possible fine of up to N$100 000 or seven years in jail.
The Bank of Namibia Act strictly prohibits altering any Namibian banknote or coin. Namibian law, therefore, forbids altering any legal tender with any material whatsoever, including “with words, figures, letters, marks, lines or devices the print whereof resembles in whole or in part any words, figures, letters, marks, lines or devices peculiar to and used in or upon any note of the Bank or any coin, which is legal tender”.
The Act expressly states that anyone who “photographs or copies in whatever manner a note of the Bank, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$100 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years, or to both such fine and imprisonment”.
The Bank of Namibia’s Director of Banking Services, Sam Shivute, laid the charges against //Hoebes for contravening Section 24(1) (b) and 25(1) (a) and (c) (i) as well as (iii) of the Bank of Namibia Act, (Act 15 of 1997) as amended.
Police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi confirmed the case against //Hoebes was registered on 22 April 2020 at the Windhoek Central Police station.