Syndicate suspected in N$4 million fraud

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-The theft of N$4 million dollars from an Oshakati businessman’s bank account might be the work of a syndicate that involves many people, says Erongo regional crime investigation coordinator Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu.

Iikuyu told New Era that the 51-year-old unemployed suspect, Nelson Potiphar Kazombiaze, who was in court in connection with the case on Monday appears to have acted with accomplices. He was denied bail and his case was postponed to November 3 for further police investigation.

Kazombiaze was arrested last week in a major case of identity theft involving an Oshakati businessman, whose identity he had forged. Iikuyu yesterday said close to N$3 million was reversed to the victim’s account last week. The police say Kazombiaze and the victim do not know each other.

According to police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, Kazombiaze obtained an ID duplicate of the victim and further obtained a duplicate of the victim’s Standard Bank credit card from Maerua Mall branch on September 5.

Kanguatjivi said the suspect forged the complainant’s signature and increased the daily limit of the victim’s account to N$100,000 a day. Kazombiaze then reportedly withdrew N$4 million from banks around Windhoek for himself and transferred some money to various accounts.

The police said the suspect travelled to Swakopmund last week.
“It is suspected that on Wednesday at 21h00 the suspect arrived in Swakopmund from Windhoek and withdrew around N$90,000 from different Standard Bank ATMs around Swakopmund. The security guards at the ATMs alerted the police about the suspect withdrawing huge amounts of money from ATMs,” Kanguatjivi reported.

He added that the following day (last Thursday), the suspect was arrested while trying to withdraw money from Standard Bank main branch’s ATM in Swakopmund. “He was found in possession of the victim’s ID and credit card, as well as N$9,111.95 cash,” Kanguatjivi noted.

“It is questionable how he got the suspect ID, as the fingerprint is now automated at [the Ministry of] Home Affairs. One wonders what was happening at the bank,” Kanguatjivi pondered. He said police investigations into the matter are ongoing.

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