Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has distanced himself from a meeting reportedly between his officers and their Namibian counterparts where details of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm robbery involving millions of US dollars were apparently discussed.
In a recent statement, Namibian police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga claimed the meeting between their officers and South African police in a place called ‘no man’s land’ was on June 19, 2020.
“As the custodian of law and order, we vehemently refute allegations ...(that) the Namibian police did dirty work for President Ramaphosa.
“On June 12, 2020, Mr Imanuwela David (the alleged mastermind) illegally entered Namibia through an ungazetted entry point near Noordoewer, IIKaras Region by canoe via the Orange River.
“On June 13, 2020, Mr Imanuwela David was arrested at Hotel 77 Independence Avenue in Windhoek on charges of violating the Immigration Control Act,” said Ndeitunga.
“It is worth noting that indeed the two police authorities met on June 19, 2020 at what is termed ‘no-man’s’ land near Noordoewer, IIKaras Region to share operational information pertaining to Mr David Imanuwela and other Namibian nationals suspected to have stolen money in South Africa and fled to Namibia.
“It should be clear that the meeting venue was determined by restriction measures of Covid-19 at the time. The meeting resolved for the two police authorities to investigate the matter within their jurisdictions.
“The Namibian Police Force identified individuals, bank accounts and various properties including lodges, houses and vehicles suspected to have been purchased with proceeds of crime; and consulted the Office of the Prosecutor General to consider a preservation order of the assets,” said Ndeitunga.
However, there was no case in South Africa as Ramaphosa claims he had only reported the incident to his head of security. Neither Sars nor the South African Reserve Bank have confirmed whether they will investigate if Ramaphosa had declared the foreign currency.
Approached for comment on Monday on Ndeitunga’s remarks, Cele was quick to distance himself.
“Minister Cele is not aware of this said meeting,” said Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba, while police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters did not respond to questions sent to her on Sunday.
The revelations of the meeting come as it emerged that the South African government snubbed their Namibian counterparts when they obtained a preservation order to seize assets they believed were proceeds of the crime at Ramaphosa’s farm.
The South African government had repeatedly denied being requested to share information regarding the incident until the Namibian government contradicted them.
The Justice Department has since confirmed it was engaging through diplomatic channels with Namibia to establish if it had a record of the request to exchange information regarding the incident.
The Cape Times’ sister publication, the Sunday Independent, reported that it was also in possession of two letters from the Namibian government sent to the Justice Department.
Pressure has been mounting on Ramaphosa after former State Security head Arthur Fraser lodged complaints citing breaches of, among others, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, No 121 of 1998 (“Poca”) and the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act No 12 of 2004 (“The Corruption Act”).
According to Fraser, it was Ramaphosa’s domestic worker who discovered an estimated $4 million dollars (about R64m) concealed in the furniture on the farm and subsequently colluded with a gang, including David, to steal it.
Fraser claimed the suspects were kidnapped and tortured before being bribed for their silence.
Ndeitunga refuted the allegations of torture and the abduction of David.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs has yet to respond to questions about the validity of David’s South African citizenship, which was flagged as a cause of concern in a report by Namibia’s former Criminal Investigations Directorate commissioner Nelius Becker.
The SANDF also confirmed David had never been under its employ according to their records.
“The SANDF has noted with concern insinuations by Mr Imanuwela David in various media reports purporting that he is a former employee of the SANDF and served as a ‘guard at the border’.
“The SANDF has no record of employment of a Mr Imanuwela David, who is said to be a former employee of the SANDF.”