16 held for gem theft

16 held for gem theft

SIXTEEN Namdeb employees were arrested last week after a syndicate of alleged diamond thieves was bust at the diamond enclave of Oranjemund.

They are expected to appear in court this morning. Namdeb spokesperson Hilifa Mbako confirmed to The Namibian on Friday that the 16 were arrested on Tuesday.He said they were immediately handed over to the Namibian Police for further investigation of the case and prosecution.The company is expected to issue a statement this morning.Sources said the 16 men from the MA1 area in Namdebt plant number three worked on the same shift team and allegedly operated as a syndicate.As a result of the bust, the plant was shut down for most of Tuesday.Mbako was unable to say how many diamonds were stolen or what their estimated value was.He said the company had handed the diamonds over to the Police as evidence and it might take some time before they were returned.”They [the suspects] were observed over a period of time.Our information is that they were operating as syndicates in the mine,” Mbako said.He was not sure why the suspects had not yet appeared in court.Police at the town remain tight-lipped on the issue.Some sources felt the company had been “a bit slow” in acting.”More could have been arrested.Some of the guys helped themselves and had left the plant when the arrests were made,” claimed one source.However, Police sources said they expected to arrest more people based on statements made by the 16 suspects.Mbako said Namdeb had suspended all 16 with pay until further notice.Namdeb spokesperson Hilifa Mbako confirmed to The Namibian on Friday that the 16 were arrested on Tuesday. He said they were immediately handed over to the Namibian Police for further investigation of the case and prosecution.The company is expected to issue a statement this morning.Sources said the 16 men from the MA1 area in Namdebt plant number three worked on the same shift team and allegedly operated as a syndicate.As a result of the bust, the plant was shut down for most of Tuesday.Mbako was unable to say how many diamonds were stolen or what their estimated value was.He said the company had handed the diamonds over to the Police as evidence and it might take some time before they were returned.”They [the suspects] were observed over a period of time.Our information is that they were operating as syndicates in the mine,” Mbako said.He was not sure why the suspects had not yet appeared in court.Police at the town remain tight-lipped on the issue.Some sources felt the company had been “a bit slow” in acting.”More could have been arrested.Some of the guys helped themselves and had left the plant when the arrests were made,” claimed one source.However, Police sources said they expected to arrest more people based on statements made by the 16 suspects.Mbako said Namdeb had suspended all 16 with pay until further notice.

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