24 April 2019

Namibia: Nimt Employee Could Face Charges Over Bosses' Killings

Walvis Bay — An employee of the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt)'s Tsumeb campus, who appeared in the Karibib Magistrate's Court yesterday for illegal possession of ammunition found in his car, is under questioning and may soon be charged in connection with the cold-blooded killings of the institute's top two bosses a week ago.

Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser, 57, remains a person of interest and not a suspect, police said yesterday, but his arrest has helped piece together clues necessary to eventually make a formal arrest in the killings.

Lichtenstrasser was arrested on Thursday last week in connection with possession of firearm ammunition without a licence in the Karibib area.

He was taken in for questioning and later arrested for illegal possession of ammunition. It was during questioning that police seemingly became more suspicious of Lichtenstrasser regarding the senseless killings of his Nimt bosses.

Nimt Executive Director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig were shot at close range when they arrived at the institute's Arandis campus between 06h00 and 06h30 on Monday, 15 April.

Their bodies, lying in a pool of blood, were found by a hostel matron who heard the gunshots and rushed to the institution's entrance.

Police shortly afterward identified Lichtenstrasser as a person of interest along with another person who was later cleared after police could not link him to the crime.

Yesterday, Lichtenstrasser was denied bail regarding the initial charge of illegal possession of ammunition.

Namibian Police Chief for the Erongo Region, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu late yesterday said Lichtenstrasser has not yet been charged in connection with the murders of the Nimt executives.

"He has not been charged. Today (yesterday) in the morning we thought we would charge him so that he appears in [Swakopmund] court in the afternoon but what we had was not enough to charge him yet," he said.

"I can only say that the events of the past few days, including this arrest has helped us put together important clues which may lead to charges very soon but as of now, no one has been charged."

Lichtenstrasser's case for illegal possession of ammunition was postponed to 27 May for further investigation.

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