Journalists at the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund were barred from covering the routine court appearance of three suspects arraigned by the Swakopmund Regional Court for fraud and forgery linked to almost N$12 000 in forged bank notes on Wednesday.
The fake bank notes of the new series of currency that recently went into circulation were allegedly impounded over the weekend from the three suspects.
At least four journalists who waited for the appearance of the suspects were summoned to the prosecutor's office on Wednesday afternoon and informed by the investigating officer that due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing criminal inquiry, journalists were not allowed any coverage for now on the ongoing forgery case.
"I do not want any journalist attending this court hearing, " the investigating officer informed journalists and he was quick to add that he was merely carrying out orders from his seniors.
New Era understands the three suspects are part of a rather large syndicate and that more arrests could follow soon in Windhoek as well. No further information was released since officials are of the opinion that any new revelations connected to the case might jeopardise the criminal inquiry.
Neither the Namibian Police Commissioner for the Erongo Region, Sameul //Hoëbeb, nor officials of the Bank of Namibia (BoN) could be reached for comment, since they were believed to be attending a briefing session on the fake money syndicate.
A high level team from the central bank, as well as members of the Police Commercial Crime Unit were already in Swakopmund on Monday to investigate the case.
A vigilant bar lady who detected a bogus N$100 note alerted the police leading to the arrest of three suspects last weekend. One of the suspects apparently tried to use the bogus note at her shebeen.
Nampol followed up the tip-off, which eventually led to the suspects' residence in Mondesa, Swakopmund. The suspect confessed and pointed out a second and third suspect.
The N$11 900 was allegedly found in the boot of a vehicle that is believed to belong to the third suspect. "Thanks to this vigilant bar lady we could stop the criminals from operating further," a visibly relieved //Hoëbeb said three days ago.