The two remaining accused in one of the biggest cash heists in Namibian history were convicted on different charges by Judge Naomi Shivute in the Windhoek High Court.
Jan Julius, 42, was convicted on a charge of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances of N$3,7 million and George Jambeinge, 41, on a charge of theft of N$1,515 million.
State Advocate Anita Meyer argued during submissions on the verdict that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Julius was instrumental in the planning and eventual commissioning of the daring robbery that took place in the early hours of December 29, 2004.
She however conceded that there was nothing that directly linked Jambeinge to the actual robbery.
While Jambeinge made himself guilty of the robbery by association, she said, there was no evidence placing him at the scene to prove common purpose.
She said he must be convicted of the lesser competent verdict of theft or possession of stolen property.
George Neves for the accused argued that there was no evidence against either of his clients before court and that the State’s case hinged on mere speculation.
Julius and Jambeinge remained alone in the dock after Judge Shivute found in February 2014 they had a case to answer after the defence asked for a Rule 174 discharge.
After Meyer conceded that the State failed to prove the allegations against four of the co-accused, the judge acquitted Benedictus Kasimbingwe, Elitana Nghimwena, Mateus Hauwanga and Jason Awene.
Julius, Jambeinge and the exonerated accused went on trial on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances in January 2010, when they all pleaded not guilty.
It was alleged they colluded to rob the cash-in-transit car of N$5,7 million in the Brakwater area north of Windhoek.
At the time of the robbery it was the biggest cash heist in the history of Namibia.
The police later recovered about N$3,38 million that was alleged to have been part of the stolen cash.
According to Judge Shivute, Julius pre-arranged with the robbers to commit the crime. “Accused 1 unlawfully and intentionally engaged in conduct whereby he furthered the commission of this crime by facilitating and encouraging the commission of this robbery,” the judge stated. She said Julius transported the hitch-hiker to the scene of the robbery, and he contradicted himself as to the status of the padlock where the keys to the safe were for which he was responsible. The judge further said Julius personally took the money and loaded it into the get-away vehicle, and he was not subjected to violence, in contrast to his co-driver, Stefanus Iyambo.
“His conduct before, during the robbery and after was not consistent with the conduct of an innocent man,” Judge Shivute stressed yesterday. She said it was not a mere coincidence that Julius deviated from his way to pick up a hitch-hiker in the early hours of the morning.
He colluded with the robbers or perpetrators to commit the offence, she said, and convicted him of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Dealing with Jambeinge, the judge said it was common cause that an amount of N$1,515 000 was found in a vehicle that was under his control. The only question to answer was whether Jambeinge was part and parcel of the perpetrators that robbed the armoured vehicle, Judge Shivute stated.
However, she said, there was not sufficient evidence that he was one of the robbers. But, the judge added, he was found in possession of a large amount of money that was linked to the robbery and he was unable to give an explanation that could reasonably be true.
According to her, where a person is found in possession of recently stolen goods and has failed to give an explanation which could reasonably be true, a court is entitled to infer that such person had stolen the articles or that he is guilty of some other offences.
“Since accused 2 has failed to give a reasonable explanation which could reasonably be true, this court is entitled to infer that accused 2 stole the money found in his possession,” she stated.
The matter was postponed to August 23 for submissions on the sentences to be passed and both accused were remanded in custody after their bail was cancelled.