Mulunga’s nephew arrested for Namcor fuel theft

Suspended National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) managing director Immanuel Mulunga’s nephew is among four men arrested by the police in connection with the theft of fuel worth N$1 million from the state-owned oil company.

Denzel Mulunga (21), Simeon Shilongo (38), Jason Malima (26) and Graham Platt (46) were arrested between February and March, and each faces charges of theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit theft.

Jason is related to Victor Malima, the chief executive of Enercon, a military contractor company taken to court by Namcor for struggling to pay back N$60 million it owes Namcor.

Erongo regional police commander Nikolaus Kupembona yesterday confirmed the arrests.

The four are accused of running a syndicate that stole fuel from the oil storage facility at Walvis Bay between 7 December 2023 and 25 January.

The oil storage facility is owned by the government, and operated by Namcor.

“From 7 December to 25 January 2024 at Walvis Bay, the accused persons, while acting individually or in common purpose, wrongfully and unlawfully engaged in an arrangement and transaction in terms of conspiring to steal diesel from Namcor, with a total of 79 000 litres valued at N$1 million,” a police charge sheet states.

It adds: “agreement, arrangements, transactions or acts were likely to have one of the following effects: concealing or disguising the nature, source, location, disposition, movement, and ownership of such property, money or interest.”

Police sources say Mulunga, Shilongo and Malima concocted a plan with three Namcor employees to steal fuel from the oil storage facility before selling it to Platt.

“At least N$400 000 was given as kickbacks to the three employees, because they tampered with the readings to make it appear that fuel has not left the system.

“The engineers are obviously denying receiving the money, because it was given to them as hard cash,” a police source says.

Another police source says: “After stealing fuel from the oil storage facility, the three boys [sic], Mulunga, Shilongo and Malima, sold it to Platt. Platt knew the fuel was stolen, but still bought it. It was cheap.”

Immanuel Mulunga, who has been suspended as Namcor’s managing director since April 2023, yesterday said Denzel should answer for himself.

“I am aware of the fuel theft, but it’s the first time I am hearing that Denzel Mulunga was involved. He should answer for himself, he is an adult,” he said.

Victor Malima said he was not aware of any activities related to the theft of fuel at Namcor.

“It is important to note that our company has not done any trading business with Namcor for the last 16 months. To my understanding, this is a private business transaction between two individuals, and it should be treated as such,” he said.

“I am shocked and surprised that a private business deal between two individuals can be linked to our company. This seems to be a deliberate attempt to ruin our company’s reputation and my name. We trust the ongoing investigations by the necessary authorities will shed more light on the matter,” he said.

Information from Namcor indicates that a log book recorded that 39 993 litres of diesel ADO 550 in December 2023 and another 39 891 litres of the same product was loaded in January 2024.

Despite loading documents suggesting that the two loads were destined for a customer site, there is no evidence of the product having arrived or been received by the bulk fuel customer.

After the theft, Namcor dispatched a team to Walvis Bay to strengthen the security system that would enable the national oil storage facility to move from a paper-based system to an integral system.

The four suspects appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court again this week to apply for bail, and the case has been postponed to 28 March.

“They appeared in court yesterday for bail applications, and the outcome is still pending,” police spokesman Pendukeni Haikali said yesterday.

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