Charges withdrawn in city extortion case

Criminal charges against two men accused of impersonating Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officials and trying to extort N$1,5 million from a former Ministry of Mines and Energy official were withdrawn in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The charges against Windhoek residents Lance Hauuanga and Steven Namalemo were withdrawn after public prosecutor Rowan van Wyk informed magistrate Kandiwapa Nembia that the prosecutor general’s decision on the further course to be taken with their case was not yet available, four months after the matter was postponed for that decision to be made.

Van Wyk added that the state was withdrawing the charges against the two men at this stage.

Hauuanga and Namalemo were charged with counts of impersonating an authorised officer of the ACC and extortion after their arrest on
26 October last year.

In the charges, the state alleged that they pretended to a former official of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ralph Muyamba, on 22 October last year that they were ACC officers, and tried to extort N$1,5 million from him.

The ACC announced after the two men’s arrest that it was alleged they demanded N$1,5 million from Muyamba in exchange for him not to be arrested on the basis of a warrant that they claimed had been issued for his arrest. In fact, no warrant for his arrest had been issued, the ACC stated.

Muyamba was a technical adviser to mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo before he resigned in October last year.

His resignation took place after he had been mentioned in media reports in connection with allegations that a Chinese company, Xinfeng Investments, had paid N$50 million to take over a close corporation of a relative of Muyamba that had been awarded a disputed exclusive prospecting licence over an area near Uis in the Erongo region, where Xinfeng Investments is mining lithium.

Hauuanga and Namalemo denied guilt on the two charges during a court appearance on 31 January.

After they pleaded to the charges, their case was postponed to yesterday for the prosecutor general to make a decision about the prosecution they faced.

Hauuanga and Namalemo were granted bail in an amount of N$10 000 each with their first court appearance on 28 October last year.

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