RUNDU: Four people appeared in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after they were found in possession of supporting beams used for NamPower’s metal electricity structures.
The Kavango Region and some parts of the Caprivi Region were plunged into darkness last Thursday when 11 metal electricity structures belonging to NamPower were damaged by heavy rain and wind after allegedly being weakened due to vandalism.
Initially, 18 people were arrested by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Kavango Region on Monday, but 14 were released on Tuesday as some of the items found in their possession such as cables do not belong to NamPower.
The accused persons – Johannes Mahongo, 34, Emmanuel Kambinda, 27, Simon Ndara, 54, and a 16-year-old boy – briefly appeared before Rundu Magistrate Nelao Brown, who informed them of their right to engage legal representatives of their choice.
They were all charged with contravening the Electricity Act No.4 of 2007, which deals with the cutting or damaging or interfering with any apparatus used for generating or transmitting or supplying electricity.
If convicted, the accused persons are liable to a fine not exceeding N.dollars 16 000, or imprisonment for a period of up to two years, or both. The four accused persons were not asked to plead, and they all indicated that they will apply for legal aid.
The magistrate released the minor in the custody of his parents, and informed the other three that the State is opposed to them being granted bail at this stage as it is feared that they might interfere with State witnesses and police investigations.
Brown said it is also not in the interest of justice and society for the accused to be released on bail now.
She then remanded the case to 11 December this year for further police investigations.
The three accused persons were advised to launch a formal bail application if they want to be released.
Kavango Regional Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Commanding Officer, Commissioner Olavi Auanga told reporters at the town on Tuesday that more suspects are likely to be arrested during the course of this week.
He said some of the people found in the illegal possession of suspected NamPower iron pieces have already used it to make donkey carts, ploughs and traditional knives.
Meanwhile, the water supply to most parts of the Kavango Region was also restored on Tuesday.
Rundu residents have been without water since last week as the electricity is needed to pump water to homes, offices and businesses.