New Era (Windhoek)

18 January 2013

Namibia: State Loses Thousands in Contraband

Rundu — Police at Rundu in the Kavango Region arrested two men caught transporting 48 boxes each containing 5 000 cigarette packs from Angola into Namibia, costing government thousands in lost import duties.

The men used canoes to transport the cigarettes, valued at N$240 000, across the Kavango River.

Yesterday the region's commander, Commissioner Olavi Auanga, expressed deep concern regarding illegal import activities in the area.

"When these people smuggle the cigarettes into the country, our government loses a lot of money and the businesses that trade legally also lose clients because the illegal products are sold at a cheaper price on the streets," said Commissioner Auanga.

Curretly, the banned 'Yes' cigarette is sold for N$1 per cigarette while others such as Dunhill and Peter Stuyvesant are sold for N$3 per cigarette.

"I want the community to become fully involved with assisting the police to make Kavango a crime-free zone. Community policing should become an essential aspect within our community to eradicate crime," said Auanga.

The commissioner vowed to intensify operations at all police checkpoints in the region to ensure that smuggling of illegal goods becomes a thing of the past.

Last weekend, police at the Mururani checkpoint arrested Windhoek resident Elton van Wyk, 27, for allegedly transporting 11,235 kilograms of cannabis worth over N$55 000 in a minibus.

"Another problem in the region is the growing number of reports of people using their mahangu fields to plant cannabis. Where are we heading to as a nation if our people are involved in such things?" asked Auanga.

Auanga said he could not understand why some shebeens in the region are in possession of liquor licenses that grant them permission to trade until 04h00.

He also announced that laptops and solar panels are some of the items most targeted by criminals in the regions.

He added: "I will consult the presiding officers in this matter because most of the assault cases reported to the police are perpetuated by the mushrooming of shebeens - subsequently leading to alcohol abuse. We cannot be selling liquor 24 hours a day," he said.

With police in the region having warned over 40 girls for dressing indecently in public, Auanga said law enforcers will continue to round up perpetrators to restore society's values.

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