11 Feb 2017 08:50am
OTJIWARONGO, 11 FEB (NAMPA) - The trial of three Angolan nationals who were found in possession of more than N.dollars 2 million at Otjiwarongo in September 2015, will continue in the Otjiwarongo Regional Court on 21 February 2017.
The accused - Feliuano Abilio, 33; Francisco Sossingo, 25; and Joaquim Antonio, 35; on Friday appeared before Otjiwarongo Regional Magistrate, Marilize du Plessis.
Du Plessis postponed their case to 21 February 2017 for trial continuation and for the accused to testify in their defence.
They initially faced four charges with alternatives, which were on Friday reduced to three as alternative counts by Du Plessis on the grounds that the State failed to present proper evidence in relation to the offences.
Abilio, Sossingo and Antonio were accused by the State of 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 under unlawful activities.
The three were also accused of contravening Section 2(1) that deals with local and foreign money exchange control regulations.
The State in addition accused the trio of committing fraud and failure to present themselves to a Namibian immigration official at the Oshikango border post when they entered and exited Namibia.
However, in her ruling on Friday Du Plessis said the State failed to present enough evidence in court and she then discharged them on most of the charges.
She retained three alternative State charges on exchanging money on the street, a business the trio insisted they did for a living in Angola and Oshikango whereby they exchanged United States dollars for Namibian dollars or vice versa.
Du Plessis said exchanging money on the street as a business, is illegal in Namibia.
She also held them accountable on their entry and exit at Oshikango, where it is alleged the men used an unrecognised port of entry.
The three accused were represented by lawyer Sisa Namandje in court, while Public Prosecutor Leonard Tjiveze represented the State in the matter.
They were remanded in custody at the Otjiwarongo Police Station holding cells.
The accused were caught at the Otjiwarongo-Otavi police roadblock with N.dollars 1 740 000 on 22 September 2015.
The next day, the Otjozondjupa police recovered another N.dollars 280 000 stashed in their socks and pants bringing the total amount to N.dollars 2 020 000.
They allegedly entered Namibia from Angola on 22 September and intended to travel to Windhoek the same day.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)s Otjozondjupa Deputy Commissioner, Gerhard Mavenjono told Nampa the men allegedly hid the money, mostly N.dollar 200 notes, in their boot and behind the back seats.
They 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.
They were then detained, the money confiscated and their vehicle impounded.