Bank theft investigation still at ‘infancy stage’

Nico Rebebe

The Namibian Police say despite nine suspects – two at Opuwo and seven at Rundu – already in custody, the investigation into the multimillion-dollar theft at Bank Windhoek at Opuwo is still at “infancy stage”.

The web of crime uncovered so far includes that the main suspect, Nico Rebebe (30), an employee at Bank Windhoek’s Opuwo branch, had allegedly promised the suspects at Rundu farm jobs and told them to open bank accounts into which he would allegedly deposit their salaries.

After the suspects opened the bank accounts, Rebebe allegedly took their bank cards.

Rebebe has vanished, but his alleged accomplices are being rounded up en masse.

Kavango East acting regional commander commissioner Eino Nambahu on Wednesday said the police at Rundu arrested six suspects in connection with the theft at Opuwo.

A collective N$2,1 million was discovered in the bank accounts of the six suspects, he said.

Yesterday, another suspect was arrested at Rundu.

This was confirmed by Nambahu, who said the suspect was arrested at Kaisosi settlement.

He said no cash was found on the suspect, but he has been a wanted suspect in the case.

Nambahu said the suspect who was arrested yesterday, and another one who was arrested while trying to withdraw money from the Bank Windhoek counter at Rundu, would appear in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court along with the other suspects today.

The ages of the suspects range from 22 to 30.

They would later be transferred to the Kunene region, where the case was registered.

The police in the Kunene region yesterday refused to reveal the amount of money found in possession of the two suspects arrested at Opuwo this week.

The money was allegedly recovered from Untag Kamati (34) and Fenni Amukoshi (19).

Kunene crime investigations coordinator deputy commissioner Paavo Iyambo yesterday said the figure was shared with national police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi.

Shikwambi yesterday would not reveal the figure, but said the investigation is ongoing.

“We are dealing with a complex case and the investigation is still at infancy stage. We can’t reveal how much was found on them, because we are dealing with a syndicate here. If we reveal the amount, it will jeopardise the investigations,” Iyambo said.

Kamati and Amukoshi were arrested on Monday and appeared in the Opuwo Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

They were denied bail and their case was postponed to 11 April for further police investigations.

“In the meantime, Bank Windhoek is offering a reward of N$20 000 to anyone who will provide information to the Namibian Police that would lead to the successful apprehension of Rebebe,” Shikwambi said on Wednesday.

The police initially reported on Sunday that an attempt to steal N$200 million from the bank was made on Saturday, but Bank Windhoek managing director Baronice Hans later said the potential loss was less than N$2 million.

“The potential loss is less than N$2 million, thanks to vigilant staff action and robust systems and controls within Bank Windhoek,” she said.

However, Shikwambi told the media on Monday that the information shared by the police was obtained from Bank Windhoek on Saturday, including the figures.

Spokesperson of Bank Windhoek Samuel Linyondi said: “We are unable to provide comments on ongoing police investigations due to the sensitive nature of the matter and the need to maintain the integrity of the process.”

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