By: Eba Kandovazu
Namibian Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga has cautioned public members to stop dishing out their money to criminals who pretend to be police officers.
The police chief was reacting to a kidnapping and robbery incident in which a pensioner who had just retired was robbed of N$39 900 last Friday.
Police say the man, who was being transported by his driver at Ehenye in Oshakati, was forced to withdraw N$25 000 after the so-called police officers accused him of defrauding the government.
The police reported that the victim and driver were stopped by two unknown men driving a white Toyota Corolla sedan, popularly known as a Dankie Botswana.
The police have since reiterated that it does not own Dankie Botswanas. Ndeitunga said that corrupt police officers also assist criminals in these types of crimes, adding that they also operate with inmates at times.
“The public should know that no police officer will tell you to go to the bank to withdraw money. If you encounter someone doing this, you should immediately contact the regional commander or station commander. In fact, tell them to take you to the police station. Under no circumstances should you believe these types of people even though they present appointment cards. Criminals make up these fake appointment cards, and many of them even make fake money. It is not in dispute that criminals target people who have just retired. Often, these criminals work together with people close to retirees, it could be a family member or even a friend, and they divide that money,” he said.
He also said that although these crimes occur often, only one particular incident involved police uniforms.
“In that incident, those suspects were arrested in Oshikango. Another one was arrested in Windhoek. The issue here is that we have former police officers who have been suspended from the police force or those who have resigned but have not handed over their uniforms. Our procedure is that former members return uniforms, whether or not they are old. Even those retiring must hand over the uniforms, and that is clear,” he stressed.
He also explained that those that want to keep uniforms or badges after retiring apply to do so through the Inspector-General’s office. He said the application is paid for. He also said that police officers who wish to get married dressed in uniform seek permission.
“Some people do not follow this, which is a problem,” he said.
The fake officers who robbed the pensioner are said to have identified themselves with fake police appointment letters. According to the police, the fake officers pushed the driver out of the car before taking off with the victim.
Oshana Nampol spokesperson warrant Frieda Shikole said the suspects drove away with the victim to Ondangwa, where they ordered him to withdraw the money from his Bank Windhoek account. Shikole added that the victim was also ordered to hand over his identity document and Bank card.
An additional N$ 14 000 was withdrawn from the victim’s account the following Saturday.
It is reported that the pensioner was dropped off by the main road between Ondangwa and Ongwediva, and the so-called police officers informed him that they had other cases to investigate.
Claims are that the victim’s vehicle was parked at the Ongwediva police station. It is also alleged that when the suspects arrived at Ondangwa, they made a turn at the Ondangwa police station and subsequently drove to the bank.