Confusion over Nghimtina's money

January 19, 2015, 10:12am

Confusion over Nghimtina's money

QUESTIONS still linger around whether works minister Erkki Nghimtina had large sums of cash in his possession when he narrowly escaped death in a near fatal car accident last week.

Information from the police has been contradictory leaving more questions than answers. The fact that Nghimtina himself refuses to talk to the media adds to the speculations.
News of Nghimtina carrying a large sum of money in his car started spreading like wild fire during the night of his accident with some even discussing the issue on social networks.
Three different figures have been quoted as having been found in the minister's private vehicle at the accident scene. N$7 million, N$4 million and N$150 000.
Whatever amount was found, it is not recorded in the police records. 
Police chief, Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga yesterday told The Namibian that he had not been informed of money recovered, recorded or money lost. 
Ndeitunga's comments have been contradicted by Otjiwarongo-based deputy Commissioner Gerhard Mavenjono, who was quoted in Oshili Nashipopiwe on Friday, stating that Nghimtina was carrying N$150 000 in cash and not N$4 million.
Mavenjono was further quoted, stating that Nghimtina “actually instructed us whom the money was to be handed to and we have since done that. I have also heard rumours of N$4 million, but it is not true. We only found N$150 000 which is no longer in our possession.” 
Mavenjono's statements to Oshili Nashipopiwe contradicted his earlier statements to other print media. Last week he told The Namibian that there was no money recovered and that he only heard about the money issue from journalists. 
Mavenjono further added that he asked Nghimtina about the money and that the minister was not willing to talk about it, citing that he was not feeling well and recovering from the accident. 
Mavenjono could not be reached yesterday to clarify the contradiction in his statements. He did not pick up calls to his mobile and did not respond to a text message.
Mavenjono also conceded that he was not at the accident scene and referred questions about what happened at the scene to Inspector Petrus Shipepe, who is the Otavi Station Commander as the senior officer at the scene. 
Shipepe said he arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the accident and took along a team of seven officers. He said “he never picked up nor did he see any money at the accident scene”.
He said Mavenjono should explain where the N$150 000 he is talking about came from.
Shipepe also added that if the minister carried the money on him, he might have had it when was transported from the scene to the hospital in Otjiwarongo. 
Nghimtina yesterday refused to comment, saying “I cannot talk to any newspapers while I am sick and on holiday”.
Nghimtina was last year investigated and subsequently cleared by the Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly receiving questionable amounts of money into his bank accounts.
Bank of Namibia governor Iipumbu Shiimi clarified that it is not illegal to carry large sums of cash. 
Shiimi said if a person carrying large sums of money is reported to be suspicious or having obtained the money in a questionable manner, then the authorities will investigate and determine whether the money is ill-gotten.
By Tileni Mongudhi The Namibian