Namibia: Smartphone Found in Hatuikulipi's Cell

Fishrot accused James Hatuikulipi was allegedly found with a smartphone in his cell at the Windhoek Correctional Facility yesterday morning, head of the facility deputy commissioner Veikko Armas said.

Armas, however, said he doesn't know how the Samsung phone found its way into Hatuikulipi's possession, but the matter is being investigated.

He added that Hatuikulipi would be subject to a disciplinary hearing in relation to the smuggled device.

"After the investigation has been completed, he will appear before a disciplinary hearing," he said.

This is the third time Hatuikulipi, who has been fingered as the mastermind behind the Fishrot corruption scandal, has been found with a cellphone inside the correctional facility.

Early last year Hatuikulipi and former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, who is also a trial awaiting suspect in the Fishrot scandal, were found in possession of cellphones.

In 2020, he and another Fishrot co-accused, Pius Mwatelulo - who is a relative of his, were also allegedly found in possession of cell phones.

The Correctional Service Act prohibits being in possession of a cellphone at a facility where one is lawfully detained.

Commissioner general of the Namibia Correctional Service, Raphael Hamunyela told The Namibian last year that a number of inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility had been smuggling drugs and cellphones into prison by hiding them in their body cavities.

Hamunyela said many cellphones are found smuggled into prison by inmates on a daily basis.

At the time Hamunyela said about 1 000 phones were confiscated from inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Service alone.

Hamunyela related that an inmate landed in hospital and had to have an operation after he put a phone and mandrax up his rectum.

"The inmate was not able to use the toilet for two days because the phone was in a horizontal position. His rectum was blocked," Hamunyela said at the time.

Inmates' family members are sometimes guilty of smuggling phones and other items into prison hidden in birthday cakes and Bibles, Hamunyela said.

"They cut the pages and hide the contraband in the Bible, and bring it as a gift for the inmate. You wouldn't think there's anything," he said.

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