Three Angolan women who were arrested at Hosea Kutako International Airport with more than N$2.2 million in foreign currency, were denied bail pending the prosecutor general’s decision. The Katutura Magistrate’s Court refused to release on bail
Jorge Neves, lawyer to Angolan nationals Maria Combua (46), Helena Samba Pintal (35) and Beatriz Antunes (47) lodged an application last week to have the court release the accused on bail while the investigating officer was carrying out additional instructions from the prosecutor general.
Neves in defence, argued that the accused have been in police custody for more than eight months and the charges they face are not as grave to warrant continuous incarceration.
Detective Sergeant Erwin Serogwe, the investigating officer in the case, said they needed extra time to adhere to the PG’s instructions which are to probe the authenticity of the acquisition of the money, any business registered in the accused’s names and Angolan legislation on the export and import of foreign currency into Angola adding that granting of bail would defeat the course of justice.
Serogwe fears if given bail, the trio would evade trial since they did not provide information on their physical address in Angola.
“It has become a tendency that our airport is being used to export foreign currency and this has undermined our Namibian justice system,” explained Serogwe
Refusing bail, magistrate Namwenyo Shikalepo said the accused have other recourse should they want to be released on bail. She however gave the State a final remand for the prosecutor general to pronounce herself in the matter. The case was postponed to 6 November.
The group was arrested in December 2019 after allegedly being found in possession of US$150 190 (N$2 162 736), € 6250 (N$1 001 11.05) and N$4 083. In total, the accused were found with over N$2.2 million.
Serogwe said police believe the money is from illicit deals as the accused failed to declare the amount of money in their possession and that the accused almost got away had it not been for Combua who triggered the scanners with her metal hair clipper.
This prompted immigration officers to conduct a thorough search to investigate what could have caused the scanners to go off. That is when they discovered the money.
Pintal and Antunes were caught when they went searching for Combua. In their defence, the accused claimed the money is from their different businesses and they had the money as they were on their way to China to buy merchandise for their businesses in Angola.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News