… After pensioner’s 11-year battle to recover stolen livestock
By Marianne Nghidengwa
GOBABIS farmer, 77-year-old Nathaniel Hekandjo, is preparing to launch a N$6 million lawsuit against the government, following his 11-year battle to recover his 60 cattle and 170 goats, which he claims were later sold by police officers during a private auction.
In a desperate bid for assistance, Hekandjo wrote numerous letters over the years to former President Hifikepunye Pohamba, current President Hage Geingob, Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa, Nampol Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
He said that only President Geingob had replied to him favourably.
State House wrote to him on 26 January 2016 as follows, “I have been directed by His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, to acknowledge receipt of your letter and to kindly inform you that your complaints have been referred to the Ministry of Safety and Security for investigations.”
The saga started 11 years ago, when Hekandjo was greeted by the appalling site of his Brospan-Dallas farm having been vandalised.
His belongings were destroyed in the incident during March 2006, while his livestock were driven out of their kraal, before they were rebranded on a nearby farm.
At the time, police officers from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit in Gobabis traced the livestock and Hekandjo’s other possessions to the nearby Schellenberg resettlement farm, which is owned by Erastus Lineekela Nghishoono, who is an official in the Land Reform Ministry.
Hekandjo opened cases of stock theft and housebreaking and theft.
Nghishoono and two of Hekandjo’s cattle herders, Alfeus Gabriel and Josef Aindongo, were arrested. The trio were released on bail of N$500 each.
Strangely, as police investigations continued, Hekandjo’s livestock were kept under police guard at the Schellenberg resettlement farm.
Hekandjo said during an interview with Confidente that apart from being denied access to his livestock over the years, he was also sent from pillar to post, when enquiring about the status of the criminal matter.
Today, he strongly believes that police officers, who assisted him in the initial stages of his case, later worked with the three accusedto sell his animals for N$210 000 in 2008, before sharing the money.
He also claimed that the police had established that a Toyota Hilux that belonged to Nghishoono had been used in the original theft of his livestock.
After he failed to get answers from the police, he enlisted the help of a private investigating company in 2012, which established that his livestock was privately auctioned in 2008.
“My livestock was sold for only N$210 000, which they shared amongst themselves. This is daylight robbery,” Hekandjo said.
“It was after six years that I privately learned that the accused were out on N$500 bail each and that my livestock that was held by police had been sold, in collaboration with police officers.
“I never received any subpoena to attend the criminal court case as a witness to give evidence to testify. I was totally isolated as from 2006, until this day.
“The ministries of justice and that of safety and security have violated the Namibian Constitution, in terms of Section 31, and their negligent, careless, deceptive actions are crowned by grave fraud and corruption.
“Therefore, I desire to institute a claim against the inspector-general and prosecutor-general in the amount of N$3.5 million and N$2.5 million, respectively, plus legal costs, with 20 percent on top to teach them not to make Namibia a den of thieves,” Hekandjo said.
“This has cost me a lot of money to replace my stolen items, to buy livestock and to get my farm running again.”
He says he is heartbroken the police could not professionally and sympathetically handle his case.
“I feel belittled and treated like a second-class citizen. I feel obliged to fight this case to the very end, because if I don’t, they will do it somebody else. Therefore the battle has only just begun, and I will only shed a tear, after I get what is mine.”
Confidente is also in possession of letters from Ndeitunga’s office, in which Hekandjo is informed that investigations continue, and that the PG’s office had not pronounced itself on his housebreaking and livestock theft matters.
His lawyer said that they have exhausted all avenues to get to the bottom of the matter.
“We are told police investigations into the matter continue. We have reported the matter to every authority; we do not know what is going on. We are at a point where we have to accept that nobody can assist us, because we are basically sitting with a problem without a solution. Police officers are not doing their job; they are simply not interested in maintaining law and order. They are simply not cooperating,” Hekandjo’s lawyer, Chris Brandt, said.
When contacted for comment, Nghishoono explained that he was wrongfully arrested.
“I know that the matter is still under investigation. At the time, I was accommodating colleagues on my farm. When police arrived, Hekandjo pointed out that his cattle were amongst those of my colleagues. It was a misunderstanding, but the case is still pending in court, and I will prove my innocence.”
Ndeitunga said, “I am informed that the docket is forwarded to the PG, and we are still awaiting a decision.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015