The commander of the Namibian police in Erongo Region, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu, has issued a stern warning to those linked to the N$2.2 million fraud that was reportedly unearthed at Inland Revenue in December.
The fraudulent scam apparently involved at least 21 people, including three employees of the Ministry of Finance at Inland Revenue.
The three are said to have created forged Pay As You Earn (PAYE5) certificates in the names of friends and relatives and processed these in order to pocket illicit tax refunds in the amount of N$2,2 million between 2013 and 2016.
Thirteen people have already been arrested and charged in connection with the case.
The accused include a senior taxation officer at the Finance Ministry, 42-year-old Janette Garoes, who handed herself over to the police last Tuesday, as well as 29-year-old Lukas Shaleimbo and 50-year-old Anna-Marie Mutilifa, who were all arrested at Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
Others suspects include a 70-year-old Italian, Leonardo Roselli, Patrick Titus, 44, Michael Maclobo, 40, Vernacio Muller, 38, Henry Enrico Visagie and his wife Wellmina Visagie, 36, Morne Feris, 21, Jaqueline Imbili, 42, Quinton Mathews, 42, and Marlon Ruzyanne Prins, 35.
“If you in any way took or got money linked to this fraud case, then you should be afraid, [because] we will be coming for you,” Nelumbu warned on Thursday while briefing the media on the latest developments in the case.
Nelumbu added it is important that persons who detect money from an unknown source deposited into their accounts to enquire about it.
“You cannot just use money while you yourself know that you didn’t work for it. You must enquire and see where it’s coming from,” he advised.
Asked whether the accused persons will lose their valuable possessions if the charges of fraud are proven, he remarked that it depends on how the money was shared between them, but the police believe the money was not shared equally.
“However, these are the things that we still need to unravel to the tiniest detail before we can get to the next step. We’re currently only dealing with the criminal part of the case.
“Based on the outcome of our investigations, the Proceeds of Organised Crime Act (POCA) will be applied,” he explained.
All 13 suspects are in custody and are expected to make their second court appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for formal bail application.