The Namibian police have so far recovered eight of the 13 vehicles linked to the Jan Japan second-hand vehicle theft syndicate in Erongo.
Two suspects, one of whom is a former employee of the second-hand vehicle dealer Jan Japan, were also denied bail on Friday after they were arrested on Wednesday evening in Kuisebmond.
The suspects, 27-year-old Christiaan Christoph and 31-year-old Kaulitu Fransisco Mathias, made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on a charge of theft on Friday morning.
Three vehicles with a combined value of N$300 000 were also found in their possession. The Namibian Police Crime Co-ordinator for the Erongo Region, Chief Inspector Erastus Iikuyu, yesterday told New Era that two more vehicles were also recovered by the police in Rundu in the Kavango East Region and Okalongo in the Omusati Region.
“So far police have arrested three suspects and recovered eight of the stolen 14 vehicles. However, one buyer could prove that he had indeed bought the vehicle legally and this brings the number of stolen vehicles to 13,” he said. The vehicles, said to be worth more than N$1 million, were allegedly sold through dubious deals involving former employees of the dealership. It is alleged the former employees sold the vehicles to individuals across the country at very low prices and illegally pocketed all the money.
The dubious sales were discovered on April 27 when the dealership changed its management.
Jan Japan is a second-hand vehicle dealership specialising in vehicles imported from Japan and the United Kingdom and resold to Namibians.
The police chief in the Erongo Region, Commissioner Samuel //Hoebeb last week said a former manager of the dealership, James Lewis, was also arrested in the sting operation. Two of the vehicles were found in Lewis’ possession, of which one “belonged” to his girlfriend. The third car was confiscated from a buyer at Walvis Bay.
More arrests are expected. “Some of the outstanding vehicles are registered with NaTis in different towns such as Windhoek, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Rundu and Outapi and we are currently trying to locate the buyers,” stated the police commissioner.