03 Nov 2015 14:40pm
OTJIWARONGO, 03 NOV (NAMPA) Arguments in the bail application hearing involving three Angolan nationals who were found in possession of more than N.dollars 2 million at Otjiwarongo in September, were closed on Monday afternoon.
The accused on Monday made their fourth court appearance in the Otjiwarongo Magistrates Court seeking to secure bail.
Otjiwarongo Magistrate, Jo-Rina Jagger who presided over the case, will announce herself on the matter on 09 November 2015.
Feliuano Abilio, 31; Francisco Sossingo, 23; and Joaquim Antonio, 33 are charged with contravening Sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 29 of 2004 (POCA), which deals with money laundering and the acquisition of proceeds of unlawful activities.
On 22 September 2015, the three were caught at the Otjiwarongo-Otavi police roadblock carrying an amount of N.dollars 1 740 000.
The next day, the Otjozondjupa police recovered another N.dollars 280 000 stashed in their socks and pants bringing the total amount of money to N.dollars 2 020 000.
It is alleged the men entered Namibia from Angola on 22 September via the Oshikango Border Post and intended to travel to Windhoek the same day.
The POCA Act of 29 of 2004 prohibits foreign nationals from entering or exiting Namibia with large amounts of money exceeding N.dollars 250 000 without declaring the funds at a designated border post.
The three accused are being represented by a private lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji from the Siyomunji Law Chambers, based in the capital.
In defence of his clients and also during submission in court, Siyomunji repeatedly told the court on Monday that the men will not run away and abandon their money from which they derive their livelihoods.
He said his clients are authentic businesspeople and made the money by exchanging it (money) on the street in Angola.
Siyomunji said despite what State witnesses said during cross-examination in court to oppose the granting of bail to his clients, the court should grant bail, even if with stringent conditions attached.
Public Prosecutor Leonard Tjiveze, who represented the State, strongly opposed the granting of bail on the grounds that police investigations are ongoing and because the three are foreigners with no permanent residential address in Namibia.
Tjiveze said the State fears the men might interfere with investigations and State witnesses, adding that none of them during the bail hearing stated reasons why they must be granted bail.
He also noted the fact that they do not possess documents allowing them to operate any type of business or did not state on the immigration forms while entering Namibia that they had intentions to do business, should raise serious suspicions amongst law-abiding Namibians.
Tjiveze in addition wanted to know why the trio failed to declare the money if it was money they generated lawfully.
The State prosecutor also argued that all movements of Abilio, Sossingo, and Antonio from 17 to 22 September 2015 between Namibia and Angola were not endorsed by any immigration officer, which raises eyebrows.
Tjiveze concluded his case by saying all three mens passports only contain proof of their entry into Namibia on 16 September 2015, but no proof of their exit and re-entry into the country, which he said should convince any person not to believe their reasons for bail. Magistrate Jagger then postponed the case to next Monday for the handing down of the judgment and also remanded them in custody, stating that she needs appropriate time to do research.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)s Otjozondjupa Deputy Commissioner, Gerhard Mavenjono in an interview on 23 September this year said the men allegedly hid the money, mostly N.dollar 200 notes, in their cars boot and behind the back seat.
The men allegedly could not provide satisfactory explanations to the police as to where the money came from and why they were in possession of such a large amount.
The men were then detained, the money confiscated and their red Hyundai Accent with Angolan registration impounded.
Mavenjono said the money is now being kept at the Bank of Namibia (BoN).