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Namibia’s Police chief likens SME Bank saga to ‘organised crime’

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The Inspector General of Namibian Police, Sebastian Ndeitunga, has said the police investigation into the case of former executives of the defunct SME Bank, concerning the disappearance of N$200 million is akin to organised crime.The state-owned New Era newspaper quoted Ndeitunga in its Thursday edition as saying evidence gathered by the police in Namibia and South Africa, in the SME Bank investment saga, points to a “high possibility of organised crime”.

He said the police investigation concerns possible fraud, theft and contravention of Namibia’s Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The police have been investigating the bank after the Bank of Namibia, the country’s central bank, referred the case to the commercial crime investigation division.

This was after the central bank fired the SME Bank senior management, including the board, for alleged dubious investments in South Africa.

Last year, SME Bank invested N$200 million with Mamepe Capital and VSB Mutual Bank that seem to have disappeared into thin air. This BoN said has exposed the bank to financial risk, and needing recapitalisation of N$359 million to remain afloat.

“There is a high possibility that this is organised crime …where locals and foreigners are involved,” Ndeitunga said. “We made a lot of progress. The police members, who are part of the team, visited South Africa and gathered necessary evidence that could be valuable to our investigation,” Ndeitunga told the state-owned newspaper.
The High Court in Namibia this week ruled in favour of BoN to have the SME Bank liquidated. The Master of the High Court has appointed provisional liquidators to oversee the process of winding up the bank in the next three months.

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