RUNDU: The four men who were arrested by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) at Rundu last week Thursday, made their first appearance in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Bernard Tjavera, 36, Mathew Lisus, 36, Sivada Matende, 22, and Johannes Idhinwa, 29, were arrested after they were allegedly found in possession of outdated foreign currencies from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola which they used to defraud people. The accused persons were found with two bags – one containing notes worth 24 trillion outdated Zimbabwean dollars, 454 000 worth of Angolan Kwanzas, 50 Meticais notes from Mozambique and 16 550 Zambian Kwachas.
During their brief court appearance before Rundu acting Magistrate Christine van Wyk, the accused persons were not asked to plead and the case against them was postponed to 15 October this year for further police investigations, as well as to allow the court to obtain an Oshiwambo language translator for the third accused person.
The four men were charged with contravening Section 92, read with Section 1 and 14 of the Customs and Excise Act 2 of 1998, which deals with the non-declaration of goods.
They were remanded in custody until their next court appearance.
The suspects were cornered near the Woermann & Brock Supermarket in Rundu while the police were conducting street patrols, following a string of cases of theft from motor-vehicles that were reported to the police.
NamPol’s Kavango Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton told Nampa that the suspects were apprehended with two handbags containing huge bundles of outdated Zimbabwean dollar notes, which are not in use anymore.
Zimbabwe currently uses US dollars and South African Rands.
The suspects allegedly put the bundles of notes, which were covered with genuine Namibian N.dollars 100 notes on top and underneath to trick people into giving them their money under the pretext that the money will be multiplied.
The police also confiscated three different business cards with the names of different companies that have been advertising that they are in the diamond trading business, but the contact details are all the same.
A small bottle containing mercury liquid which is allegedly used to wash the money, was also taken in.
Deputy Commissioner Bampton said some residents of Rundu have already fallen victim to the scam; one resident opened a case with the police after losing N.dollars 3 500 to the tricksters.
He said the suspects, who are said to be operating in groups, are targeting individuals with money. Some of them are apparently even collaborating with officials from banks.
The crimes coordinator cautioned inhabitants of the region to be vigilant and to guard against these types of scams.
The accused persons are from different town such as Otjiwarongo, Windhoek and Katima Mulilo.