One of three suspected robbers, who allegedly robbed the manager of Total Service Station in Pionierspark of N$170 000 over a week ago appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on a charge of armed robbery.
The accused, Leonard Niilenge, appeared in court on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances. Niilenge was informed of his legal rights and at first said he would represent himself, but when he was informed that he is facing a very serious charge, said, “Then I will hire a private lawyer.”
Prosecutor Erastus Hatutale requested that the matter to be remanded to February 24 next year and objected to Niilenge being granted bail. The prosecutor said four firearms were used in the commissioning of the robbery, none of which have been recovered. He further said there are additional suspects wanted in connection with the robbery. “We fear that if accused is released on bail, he will interfere with the ongoing police investigations, in particular the three suspects at large.”
Hatutale also said the investigations were at a preliminary stage, and it would not be in the interest of the public and the fair administration of justice, if the accused were released on bail at this point in time.
The matter was then remanded by Magistrate Jermaine Muchali to February 24 for further investigations and legal aid.
Niilenge, accompanied by his lawyer, handed himself to the police on Monday morning, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi confirmed. She said Niilenge – who is the owner of the vehicle used in the robbery – surrendered himself to the serious crime division at 09h00 on Monday.
Last week a senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed to New Era that two of the three suspects wanted in connection with the armed robbery involving N$170 000 at the fuel service station in Pionierspark face multiple pending robbery cases before the Katutura Magistrate’s Court and were out on bail at the time of the recent robbery.
Profiles provided by City Police last week show that Niilenge is a resident of Havana in Katutura and has five pending criminal cases registered against his name. He faces a charge of robbery at Outapi, two house-breaking cases in Windhoek, a case of kidnapping and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, and pointing of a firearm.
A second suspect, Nghilifavali, a resident of Hakahana’s Omusavati Street, has an armed robbery case pending against him, while his co-suspect, Jesaya Haule Kamulu, a resident of Freedom Land’s Ombo Street, also has a case of armed robbery pending. Niilenge’s alleged accomplices are still on the loose. The group fled the scene in a black Volkswagen Jetta that was found abandoned after one of its tyres had a blowout along Hendrik Witbooi Drive behind Pionierspark and the Western Bypass. The armed gang reportedly fled on foot in the direction of Rocky Crest.
The owner of the service station had fired shots at the robbers, who quickly fled the scene after looting the money, but no one was injured during the shoot-out.