Landlords advised to screen tenants

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-The Namibian police have made an impassioned appeal to landlords to properly screen tenants that rent property from them, as some tenants end up using the property for unbecoming activities.

The request comes after the police on Monday for the third time in as many months arrested another foreign national operating as a fake traditional healer from a rented house in Otjomuise. Two other tenants suspected of being complicit in the business were not present during the arrest. The Tanzanians in question are suspected of defrauding a 27-year-old woman who wanted to find out if her boyfriend was cheating on her, but soon got hooked on the so-called healers from Tanzania, as they told her she had “bad spirits” following her.

Among their eccentric requests, the woman – who had already spent some N$28,000 on the fake healers – was asked to bring a camel and crocodile blood to get rid of “the bad spirits”.

Since July, the police in three separate incidents arrested several people from Ugandan – and now Tanzania – who were practicing as purported traditional healers in rented homes around Windhoek. In all instances, the house owners were shocked to learn what their properties were being used for.

The police arrested the Ugandans at a house in Khomasdal last month because they did not have the necessary documents to be in the country, for working without work permits, for fraud and theft under false pretences.

Nampol Chief Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech this week again called on landlords to do proper screening and ask for identity documents when dealing with new tenants. She also called on the Namibian Estate Agents Board to work with the police in fighting crime, as some agents who rent out these premises are not registered with the board.

On Monday, the owner of the house in Otjomuise, where the suspected Tanzanian fraudster was operating from, was shocked to learn that one of the three bedrooms in her house had been turned into a makeshift consulting room for the fake healers.

The pitch-dark room was covered with cloth from roof to floor and there were bird claws, calabashes, animal hides, bones, grass and herbs scattered about.

The police also came across female underwear and a book with a few names and a list of cellphone numbers in that room.

“I struggled to have this room opened. This room was always locked,” said the landlord, who asked not to be named, as she pointed to the room used as a ‘consulting room’.

She said she had asked the tenants who rented the house for two months to leave, as they had refused her access to her own house in order for her to start renovations.

“They said I was invading their privacy and always had lame excuses when I told them to pack their belongings into one room for me to start with the renovations,” said the homeowner, who has since decided to get an agent to rent out the property on her behalf.

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