The South African government has responded that a request by the Namibia to be assisted in a criminal investigation relating to the contravention of the local Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 2004 was found not to not comply with the provisions of the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act, 1996 of that country.
In a statement issued today SA Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development said request could therefore not be processed at that stage.
The issue is related to individuals who are alleged to have stolen money from South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s Limpopo hunting farm Phala Phala in February 2020.
The robbery that is said to involved have involved foreign currency equivalent to 65 million Namibia dollars.
The suspects are said to have crossed into Namibia with their loot.
The request which the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development received was not specifically in relation to David Immanuwelly, who is one of the suspects, as intimated by the Namibian police, the statement said.
Immanuwelly was arrested by Nampol for coming into Namibia using an illegal entry point and charged for immigration violations.
‘’It is not correct that there was no response from South Africa on the requested mutual legal assistance in the case involving Mr David. The Central Authority of the Republic of South Africa has transmitted correspondence through the diplomatic channels to set the record straight with the Namibian authorities,’’ the statement further clarified.
According to the Department of Justice Namibia has requested for ‘’mutual legal assistance’’ dated 13 August 2020, from the Department of International Relations .
In the request the authorities in Namibia wanted assistance from South Africa in a criminal investigation relating to the contravention of POCA.
According to the statement ‘’the request was first referred to the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) of the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that the request does not involve foreign bribery, as South Africa acceded to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Convention against Bribery of Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Bribery Convention) during 2007. The request was thereafter returned to the Department by the SCCU with a recommendation that the request be processed.’’
The request was however, found not to comply with the provisions of the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act, 1996 and was not processed.
‘’The request was returned to DIRCO on 18 May 2021, accompanied by a letter indicating to the authorities in Namibia how the request should be amended to enable South Africa to render the necessary assistance,’’ the statement clarifies.
On 31 August 2021, Namibia, the statement says, was given feedback and requested to amend the request.
Namibia’s High Commission in South Africa acknowledge receipt of South Africa’s response, on 1 September 2021, but have not sent an amended request since then.
The statement further reveals that there was a previous request to South Africa’s Chief Directorate: International Legal Relations to confirm whether a request for mutual legal assistance relating to Imanuwela had been received from Namibia.
However, the statement does not confirm whether such a request was received. Instead it says ‘’the request could not be located, as the file was opened under a different name. The request related to an investigation of docket Noordoewer CR 14/06/2020, in which Mr David was one of three suspects. The other two suspects are Messrs Petrus Afrikaner and Erkki Shikango.’’
The South Africans also do not confirm the details about the meeting between their police authorities that was released by Nampol chief Sebastian Ndeitungu on 16 June 2022, except for referring to it in the statement.
‘’At this point we are waiting for an amended request from Namibia,’’ the statement concludes.
Maren De Klerk
South Africa has confirmed that it received an extradition request for Maren de Klerk from Namibia on 15 October 2021 to stand trial in the Fishrot corruption trial.
‘’The Office of the Prosecutor-General in Namibia is requesting the extradition of Mr. De Klerk from South Africa to the Republic of Namibia to stand trial on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit an offence, fraud, theft, money laundering and acquisition, possession, or use of proceeds of unlawful activities,’’ the statement details.
De Klerk who was a lawyer for some of the accused in the biggest money laundering trial in Namibia, was allegedly using his trust account to distribute money between the accused.
The Department of Justice, says the request was forwarded to Interpol and the National Prosecuting Authority for execution.
‘’Interpol applied for a warrant of arrest; his current whereabouts are being tracked by the investigating officer,’’ the statement clarifies.