Ongandjera king faces fraud case

Johannes Mupiya
… The king wanted N$15 million, but is now asked to pay back N$1,3 million paid to him

The wife of the late Ongandjera king, Jafet Munkundi, who ruled for 41 years, has filed fraud charges against current Ongandjera King Johannes Mupiya.

The late king’s widow (92) and her children are accusing the Ongandjera king of obtaining N$1,3 million from an empowerment outfit, which he was not supposed to receive.

National police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi has confirmed that a case was registered against Mupiya at the police’s commercial crime investigation division last month.

“Indeed, a case of fraud, forgery and uttering as main charges, alternatively theft under false pretense, was registered with our commercial crime investigation division in February, and investigations are underway,” she says.

The latest turn of events comes a few days after The Namibian reported that the current king was demanding N$15 million related to the sale of Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) shares to Heineken last year.

At the heart of this dispute is an entity called Epia Investment Holdings, a politically connected outfit that included heavyweight businessmen, such as the late Aaron Mushimba.

The Namibian reported that Mupiya is threatening to take legal action against Epia if it does not pay him N$15 million in profits.

This payment was part of a deal that resulted in Epia selling its shares back to the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group last year.


The late king’s family claims the current king made an unlawful profit from a business deal.

The charges stem from allegations that Mupiya received N$1,3 million in profit from the distribution of Munkundi’s shares in Tuakondjeni Investments between September 2013 and September 2022.

Documents seen by The Namibian indicate that Munkundi owned 14, 28% of the shares in Tuakondjeni Investment.

The widow’s aide, Aina Onesmus, on Sunday said Mupiya started receiving money in 2013 after he allegedly gave a letter from Epia Investment Holdings, a company which owns Tuakondjeni Investments, to the widow’s daughter, Ester Munkundi, for the widow to sign.

According to Onesmus, the widow signed the letter without understanding its content.

She said Ester later took the letter back to Mupiya.

Onesmus said the letter signed by the late king’s widow, authorised Mupiya to benefit from Munkundi’s shares in Tuakondjeni Investments.

“She did not know she signed a letter authorising Mupiya to benefit in profit from the distribution of her late husband.”

She said a few months after Munkundi’s death, Epia paid the widow and Mupiya N$142 000 each.

“She claims the widow did not benefit from the profit ever since and she did not know that Mupiya had replaced the late king.

“On 17 June 2023, Mupiya called the widow, saying she needed to sign a letter. She asked Mupiya to bring the letter to her house, which he did on 19 June. She called me to come and read the letter for her.

“I found the king with Hertha (the widow). I told Mupiya that she could not sign the letter that day as the letter needed to be read by other family members,” Onesmus said.

Mupiya did not answer calls yesterday.

He did not respond to a text message sent to him either.


On 23 January this year, the executive chairperson of Epia Investment Holding, Tjeripo Hijaronguru, wrote to Imalwa Estate and Trust, saying after the death of Munkundi, Mupiya informed Epia, of which Tuakondjeni Investments owned 14,28%, that he is the sole heir to the estate of the late king’s interest in Tuakondjeni.

“After various deliberations, it was agreed that King Johannes Mupiya was to seek legal counsel to deal with his claim procedurally. To that end he signed the power of attorney to collect an inheritance bequeathed to the principal,” Hijarunguru wrote.

Hijarunguru said Mupiya continued to receive dividends from Tuakondjeni from 2013 to 2022 amounting to N$1,3 million on the understanding that he was the sole heir to Munkundi’s interests.

“When the late king died, we wrote a letter to the family, which was handed to the family spokesperson, Mr Mupiya (now the king), in which we informed the family we needed a directive from the master of the High Court to deal with the estate,” Hijarunguru said in a letter addressed to Imalwa Estates and Trust on 23 January.

Last month Epia, through its lawyers Theunissen, Louw & Partners, demanded that Mupiya pay back N$1,3 million paid to him or face legal action.

Epia claims Mupiya is not the rightful heir, and that the N$15 million belongs to Munkundi’s estate, currently controlled by his widow.

This demand is contained in a letter he wrote through his lawyer, Apollos Shimakeleni, to Epia Investment Holdings.

In that letter, Mupiya claims he is entitled to the money as part of his inheritance from his uncle, the late Ongandjera king, Jafet Munkundi, who held a 14,28% stake in Tuakondjeni Investments.

“In 2023, O&L sold its majority stake in Namibia Breweries to Heineken South Africa. As a result, Epia opted to sell its stake back to O&L.

“This meant the income to Epia was higher for 2023, and our client was entitled to a payment in the amount of N$15 million,” Shimakeleni says.

In a turn of events, he claims Mupiya was surprised to be told by the company that it intended to pay the money into Munkundi’s estate instead of paying it to him.

“Epia approached our client and offered him participation in the empowerment initiative, which our client accepted.

As part of the agreement, our client has been receiving regular dividend payments from 2013 to date from Epia.

“These dividends were inclusive of Epia’s dividends earned from its shareholding in O&L,” Shimakeleni’s letter reads.

“Our client’s receipt of dividends over the years was never premised on any conditions whatsoever. We have also been advised that you have recently drafted a purported acknowledgment of debt, which you have asked our client to sign.

“Our client shall not sign such an acknowledgment of debt as the dividends paid to him were not paid on the understanding that they will be paid back to Epia, nor has our client sought any loan from Epia,” Shimakeleni says.

He demands that if the company fails to pay the funds to Mupiya by 23 February, he will institute legal action in the High Court.

Epia was formed in 2002 by O&L as a black empowerment company.

Following this, Epia Investment Holdings approached Mupiya and offered him an opportunity to participate in the company, which he accepted.

NBL spokesperson Surihe Gaomas-Guchu this week clarified that NBL is not involved in the N$15 million dispute between Epia and Mupiya.

“The article in question links our company to a dispute involving a disgruntled shareholder of another company. I must clarify that our company has no direct involvement or connection with the issues discussed.

“More critically, the article inaccurately states that Epia Investment Holdings owned a 49% stake in NBL. This information is incorrect as the said shareholding was in another entity within the O&L Group of Companies, not NBL,” she said.

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