Namibia: Final Remand for Probe Into N$2.2m Cash Transit Case

10 February 2020

The Katutura Magistrate's Court has issued a final postponement to the investigating officer dealing with the case of three Angolan women who were caught with more than N$2.2 million in cash at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) in December last year in order to conclude investigations in the matter.

The accused, Maria Combua (46), Helena Samba Pintal (35) and Beatriz Antunes (47) were informed that the police are yet to conclude their investigations into the case.

"Investigations in this matter are still not complete. There are several witness statements that need to be obtained. The state is requesting that the matter be postponed for further investigations to 2 March," said state prosecutor Victoria Thompson.

The group made an appearance before magistrate Namwenyo Shikalepo who issued a final remand.

Combua and her fellow countrywomen are facing two charges of unlawful export of currency and disguising unlawful origin of a property, charges they have pleaded not guilty to.

The charges stem from them being caught by police officials at the airport with US$150 190 (N$2 162 736), € 6250 (N$1 001 11.05) and N$4 083 in their possession. In total, the accused were found with N$2 262 847.05

Upon inspections at the airport, it was discovered that Combua and her co-accused had allegedly hidden the money in their brassieres, disposable diapers (that they were wearing), in between shoe soles and waistbands. More money was found in the accused handbags that were hidden in their luggage.

According to the police, the accused failed to declare the amount of money in their possession, which the police believe is from illegal activities. The police however are yet to determine the intended destination of the money.

The group refuted the allegations and through their lawyer Samson Enkali informed the court that the money belongs to them and they have documentations that prove such a fact.

During their bail application, investigating officer Erwin Serogwe testified that Combua and her co-accused almost got away if it was not for Combua who triggered the scanners with her metal hair clipper. This allegedly forced the immigration officers to conduct a thorough search in order to determine what had caused the scanners to go off. That is when they discovered the money. Pintal and Antunes got caught when they went searching for Combua within the airport.

The three women are currently in police custody after they failed in their bid to be released on bail.

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