Namibian named in Phala Phala case gets 20 years in prison

One of the five Namibians accused of breaking into South African head of state Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farmhouse and stealing foreign currency hidden in a sofa has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Urbanus Shaumbwako (41) was sentenced in the Cape Town Regional Court last Thursday.

He faced a series of charges ranging from possession of prohibited firearms, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, and negligent and reckless driving.

According to the South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, an “excellent” investigative team ensured that Shaumbwako was handed a collective 185 years of imprisonment for his crimes.

Shaumbwako was sentenced as follows: On count one to 12, he was sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment on each count for unlawful possession of a 1x9mm parabellum caliber Beretta semi-automatic pistol. It is ordered that the sentences in count two to 12 are to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in count one.

Count 13 defeated or obstructed the course or ends of justice: Two years direct imprisonment; count 14 negligent and reckless driving: a fine of R6 000 or 12 months imprisonment.

Counts 15 to 17 received firearms in counts one to 12 from a person knowing that the manufacturer serial numbers were erased, altered and or removed, not notifying the registrar of change of serial numbers of the firearms mentioned from charge one to 12, knowing that the firearms can be used for illegal activities and a person who modified the firearms mentioned in count one to 12 was done without holding a gunsmith’s licence as required by law: All charges from 15 to 17 are taken together for the purpose of sentencing to two years direct imprisonment.

Effectively, the accused will serve 20 years direct imprisonment. Additionally, the court declared that Shaumbwako was unfit to possess a firearm.

Shaumbwako was arrested on 18 October 2020 in Cape Town after a dramatic encounter with City of Cape Town traffic officials at a checkpoint on Blaauwberg Road.

Traffic officials noticed Shaumbwako acting suspiciously and discovered a red bag containing a number of firearms upon stopping and searching his vehicle.

As Shaumbwako attempted to flee the scene, traffic officials pursued and apprehended him. They retrieved the red bag, which held several firearms, ultimately leading to his arrest and subsequent conviction on 18 March 2024.

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