Ex-guard pleads innocence in cash-in-transit heist trial

Ex-guard pleads innocence in cash-in-transit heist trial

A FORMER security guard accused of having had a hand in an alleged cash-in-transit heist in which more than N$1,5 million was stolen on the road between Oshikango and Ondangwa in November 2002 spent the fifth anniversary of this incident protesting his innocence from the witness stand in the High Court in Windhoek last week.

Former security guard Joseph Joseph (‘JJ’) Kagamenwa (32) is one of seven people who went on trial in the High Court in October last year on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances and theft in connection with the alleged heist on November 8 2002. On Wednesday last week, Kagamenwa became the first of the seven accused suspects to go into the witness box before Acting Judge Christie Liebenberg to give evidence in his own defence.The seven suspects are being prosecuted in connection with an alleged robbery in which a cash-in-transit vehicle belonging to Rubicon Security Services was targeted by suspected robbers on the road between Oshikango and Ondangwa on November 8 2002.Kagamenwa was in the vehicle when the alleged robbery took place after the driver of the vehicle had stopped to offer a lift to someone dressed in a Rubicon Security Services guard’s uniform.More than N$1,516 million in cash that had been collected at Oshikango and that was to be taken to Ondangwa for banking is claimed to have been stolen in the alleged robbery.Kagamenwa and his co-accused all pleaded not guilty to all three charges when their trial began on October 18 last year.The trial ran until mid-November, continued during June and until early in July this year, and resumed for a third session at the start of this month, when Acting Judge Liebenberg gave a ruling in a trial within a trial about the admissibility of statements that Kagamenwa and two of his co-accused, his sister, Johanna Wilbard, and Jesaja Shigwedha, are claimed to have made to the Police after their arrest.In his ruling on November 1, Acting Judge Liebenberg dismissed the objections raised against the admissibility of the statements allegedly taken from Kagamenwa, Wilbard and Shigwedha.In another ruling, given on Wednesday last week, Acting Judge Liebenberg also turned down applications for the discharge of two of the accused, Moses Amupolo and Andreas Henock, after State advocate Ed Marondedze had closed the prosecution’s case following the ruling on the admissibility of the contested statements.Also charged with them are Damian Veiko Kashuku Dengu and Alfeus Shikongo Akawa.In the statement that according to the Police was made by Kagamenwa, he is claimed to have revealed that he and friends of his, named as “Damiana” and “Jesaya”, as well as three friends of “Damiana”, had started to plan the robbery two months before the incident took place.The person who was standing next to the road in a security guard’s uniform to get the vehicle to stop, was “Damiana”, according to this statement.He, Jesaya and another person physically loaded boxes containing the cash that was being transported off the vehicle, it is further stated in the document.In his testimony, Kagamenwa however denied that he made that statement.He was not the author of the statement, which he only signed on instructions from Police officers, he insisted.Also before the court is a statement in which Kagamenwa’s sister, Wilbard, informed the Police that he had brought money to her at Iipanda, the village where she stayed in the Ogongo area in the Omusati Region, during November 2002, and asked her to bury the money for him.Kagamenwa also told her to show the hiding place to the Police if the Police were to make enquiries with her, it is claimed in the statement.When the Police came calling in February 2003, she duly took them to the place where she had buried the cash, and cash to the tune of 17 000 US dollars was dug up, it was stated.He never took any money to his sister either, Kagamenwa stated in his testimony on Thursday.”I did not commit this armed robbery,” he added in his testimony on Friday.On his last day on the witness stand yesterday, he further stated: “I wasn’t there at the planning.”Dengu was next in line on the witness stand after Kagamenwa had completed his testimony yesterday.He told Acting Judge Liebenberg that on a date that he could not recall – but this was at some stage before his arrest on November 26 2002 – Kagamenwa told him that Kagamenwa and one Jesaya had taken part in a robbery on the road between Oshikango and Ondangwa.Kagamenwa also told him that they had taken N$250 000 during this robbery, Dengu said.Dengu denied that he had participated in the robbery.When Marondedze told him during cross-examination that Kagamenwa is alleged to have stated to the Police that it was Dengu who was standing next to the road dressed in a Rubicon guard’s uniform just before the heist was executed, Dengu responded by pointing out that in his testimony Kagamenwa had also stated that he did not know the person whose presence by the side of the road prompted the driver of the cash-carrying vehicle to stop.Dengu is set to continue testifying today.All seven accused are free, either on bail or on a warning from the court, while the trial remains pending.They are represented by defence counsel Lucia Hamutenya and Bradley Basson.On Wednesday last week, Kagamenwa became the first of the seven accused suspects to go into the witness box before Acting Judge Christie Liebenberg to give evidence in his own defence.The seven suspects are being prosecuted in connection with an alleged robbery in which a cash-in-transit vehicle belonging to Rubicon Security Services was targeted by suspected robbers on the road between Oshikango and Ondangwa on November 8 2002.Kagamenwa was in the vehicle when the alleged robbery took place after the driver of the vehicle had stopped to offer a lift to someone dressed in a Rubicon Security Services guard’s uniform.More than N$1,516 million in cash that had been collected at Oshikango and that was to be taken to Ondangwa for banking is claimed to have been stolen in the alleged robbery.Kagamenwa and his co-accused all pleaded not guilty to all three charges when their trial began on October 18 last year.The trial ran until mid-November, continued during June and until early in July this year, and resumed for a third session at the start of this month, when Acting Judge Liebenberg gave a ruling in a trial within a trial about the admissibility of statements that Kagamenwa and two of his co-accused, his sister, Johanna Wilbard, and Jesaja Shigwedha, are claimed to have made to the Police after their arrest.In his ruling on November 1, Acting Judge Liebenberg dismissed the objections raised against the admissibility of the statements allegedly taken from Kagamenwa, Wilbard and Shigwedha.In another ruling, given on Wednesday last week, Acting Judge Liebenberg also turned down applications for the discharge of two of the accused, Moses Amupolo and Andreas Henock, after State advocate Ed Marondedze had closed the prosecution’s case following the ruling on the admissibility of the contested statements.Also charged with them are Damian Veiko Kashuku Dengu and Alfeus Shikongo Akawa.In the statement that according to the Police was made by Kagamenwa, he is claimed to have revealed that he and friends of his, named as “Damiana” and “Jesaya”, as well as three friends of “Damiana”, had started to plan the robbery two months before the incident took place.The person who was standing next to the road in a security guard’s uniform to get the vehicle to stop, was “Damiana”, according to this statement.He, Jesaya and another person physically loaded boxes containing the cash that was being transported off the vehicle, it is further stated in the document.In his testimony, Kagamenwa however denied that he made that statement.He was not the author of the statement, which he only signed on instructions from Police officers, he insisted.Also before the court is a statement in which Kagamenwa’s sister, Wilbard, informed the Police that he had brought money to her at Iipanda, the village where she stayed in the Ogongo area
in the Omusati Region, during November 2002, and asked her to bury the money for him.Kagamenwa also told her to show the hiding place to the Police if the Police were to make enquiries with her, it is claimed in the statement.When the Police came calling in February 2003, she duly took them to the place where she had buried the cash, and cash to the tune of 17 000 US dollars was dug up, it was stated.He never took any money to his sister either, Kagamenwa stated in his testimony on Thursday.”I did not commit this armed robbery,” he added in his testimony on Friday.On his last day on the witness stand yesterday, he further stated: “I wasn’t there at the planning.”Dengu was next in line on the witness stand after Kagamenwa had completed his testimony yesterday.He told Acting Judge Liebenberg that on a date that he could not recall – but this was at some stage before his arrest on November 26 2002 – Kagamenwa told him that Kagamenwa and one Jesaya had taken part in a robbery on the road between Oshikango and Ondangwa.Kagamenwa also told him that they had taken N$250 000 during this robbery, Dengu said.Dengu denied that he had participated in the robbery.When Marondedze told him during cross-examination that Kagamenwa is alleged to have stated to the Police that it was Dengu who was standing next to the road dressed in a Rubicon guard’s uniform just before the heist was executed, Dengu responded by pointing out that in his testimony Kagamenwa had also stated that he did not know the person whose presence by the side of the road prompted the driver of the cash-carrying vehicle to stop.Dengu is set to continue testifying today.All seven accused are free, either on bail or on a warning from the court, while the trial remains pending.They are represented by defence counsel Lucia Hamutenya and Bradley Basson.

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