WINDHOEK – A police constable and her co-accused a cashier at Game Stores made a routine court appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, charged with shoplifting.
It is alleged the constable working in cahoots with the cashier at Grove Mall in Kleine Kuppe conspired to steal a trolley laden with expensive electrical gadgets and groceries.
The groceries and appliances they tried to steal on Saturday have a combined value of N$29 021.
Constable Albertina Akwenye and cashier Aili Daniel were informed of their right to legal representation and Constable Akwenye indicated to the court she will apply for legal aid, while Daniel said she would conduct her own defence.
Both indicated they are disputing the charges.
While details are sketchy, it seems that Akwenye filled up a trolley with the merchandise and went past the till of Daniel, but was apprehended when the receipt did not correspond with the items in the trolley.
Public prosecutor Ivann Tjizu informed magistrate Kaulikalelwa Nghishitende that investigations were at an advanced stage, but that they were still busy compiling a list of the stolen items and awaiting one witness’s statement.
He asked the court to postpone the matter to May 22 for a legal aid application in respect of Akwenye and for further investigations, and proposed bail in the amount of N$3 000 for each accused.
Nghishitende granted the request, postponed the matter and remanded both accused in custody until they pay bail.
Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi told New Era on inquiry that Akwenye will be charged internally with conducting herself in a disgraceful and unbecoming manner by causing the police force embarrassment.
He said Akwenye will be given a chance to present evidence at the hearing to be conducted by an independent panel and one of two options can arise.
Should the panel find conclusive evidence of her guilt, she could face a summary disgraceful discharge or she could be suspended until the outcome of the criminal matter.
He further said the suspension could be with or without pay depending on the discretion of the inspector general.
Should Akwenye be acquitted by a court of law and discharged from the force, the police will have to re-instate her from the day of suspension or discharge.
Kanguatjivi further condemned actions by members of the police force that negatively influence the perception of the force by the public.
The notion that low salaries are the cause for some officers to commit criminal offences holds no truth, the police spokesperson said.
“The truth of matter is that members who commit criminal offences are criminals by nature because of criminal inclinations,” he said.
According to Kanguatjivi even cadet police officers are paid better than most workers in the private sector but you don’t see them committing crimes.
A quick glance at the remuneration scale of police confirmed that intakes take home at least N$4 000 per month, which will increase should they become full members of the force.