Men arrested for exporting currency
Two Angolan nationals are currently on trial at the Katutura Magistrate’s Court for contravening the Exchange Control Regulations.
44-year-old Simao Bernado Jaoa and 37-year-old Fransisco Kapitao stand accused of contravening section 3 (1) (a) of the Exchange Control Regulation 1112 of 1961, which restricts the export of currency. They are alternatively charged with contravening section 3 (3) of the Exchange Act for failure to declare foreign currency.
The duo was arrested at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on 15 May 2009 for attempting to leave the country with a combined amount of over U$300 000 (N$3,7 million) in cash.
Jaoa had on his person an estimated U$169 740 (N$2 million) while his counterpart had U$149 568 (N$1, 8 million) when they landed in Namibia in transit from Angola to China.
Charge-sheets show that the duo was charged with two counts each for attempting to send money out of the country without permission from the Treasury Department, or from an official with the authorization to do so by the Treasury Department.
However, they are claiming innocence, although they admitted to attempting to leave the country with the staggering lump sum.
The younger of the two men, Kapitao, recounted the events of the day in a sworn affidavit dated 11 February 2015.
In the affidavit, Kapitao said he and his travelling companion entered Namibia from Angola in transit to Johannesburg, South Africa.
From there, they were scheduled to fly to Dubai from Johannesburg, and from there to their final destination China.
Kapitao recounted that he informed the Customs’ agents when he disembarked from the flight from Angola that he was in possession of the money, after which they gave him documents in that regard.
He proceeded to the departure lounge, where he presented his boarding pass and passport to the officials there.
The accused said at the time, there was no signage stating that he had to declare his money again. The second Customs’ agent at the departure lounge also did not ask him if he had goods to declare.
He then went on to the Namibian Police checkpoint, where they have an x-ray machine where he submitted his luggage to be scanned.
It was only then that the police informed them that there was a problem when they realised the two accused had large amounts of money in their luggage.
The duo were detained in a small office, where they were questioned by members of the Namibian Police. Kapitao said their luggage was searched, and their money and travel documents subsequently confiscated before they were transported to the holding cells at the police station.
The police also confiscated their American dollars, but gave them back the N$3500 they had in their possession.
The accused went on to say that the police told them that they were under arrest and forced them to sign a document, but failed to inform them about the contents of the documents they were signing.
The police officers who arrested them also failed to have their passports stamped by Customs and Immigration as they were re-entering, as necessitated by law.
The duo have been out on bail of N$7000, and usually have to fly into Namibia for their trial as they are Angolan nationals based in their home country.
The trial was postponed to 1 December this year because not all the witnesses were present during the trial.
by Faith Haushona-Kavamba