WINDHOEK - Six men who stand accused of robbing a local commercial bank in Otjiwarongo in March and walking away with N$2.9 million were released on bail on Friday.
The accused, Natangwe Shikulo, Petrus Shipopyeni, Immanuel Pandeinge, Hophni Nuyoma Amakali, Efraim Elago and Efraim Nailenge were all granted bail in the amount of N$20 000 respectively by Magistrate Karrel Muyeghu when they made an appearance in Otjiwarongo Magistrate’s Court.
The prosecution is charging Shikulo and his co-accused with charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft. It is alleged in March that the group broke into Nedbank, Otjiwarongo.
According to police reports, Shikulo and his co-accused used unknown objects to force open a window in order to gain entrance to the building using an exit door of the bank.
The group proceeded to cut open the main safe to get access to the money.
Police reports at the time indicate that the theft from the safe was only discovered in the morning when the bank opened for business. At the time, images of the suspects while in the commission of the act captured on CCTV cameras were circulating on social media. The suspects allegedly managed to flee with N$2.9 million in cash before they were arrested. It is alleged Shikulo who is also a suspect in the matter was a security guard on duty on the date of the incident.
During their court appearance, the accused defense counsel Mbanga Siyomunji noted that the amount granted for bail was too high.
According to him, his clients can only afford to pay N$10 000 each for their release.
However, the court-imposed N$20 000 citing that the offenses are of a serious nature.
As conditions of their release, the accused were cautioned to not interfere with state witnesses.
Furthermore, they should report to Otjiwarogo police station on Mondays and Fridays and may not leave the district of Otjiwarongo without the consent of the investigating officer.
The accused are expected to appear again in court on July 3, after their case was postponed for further police investigations.