Phala Phala theft: No record of 'official' request from Namibian police - justice ministry

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Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.
PHOTO: Jan Gerber, News24
  • The justice department has denied that Namibians requested mutual legal assistance in investigating David Imanuwela, who allegedly stole from President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm. 
  • The ministry said to date there was no official record of the request. 
  • Namibian police earlier said a formal request was made, but no response was received from South African authorities.  

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services say there is no record of Namibian authorities requesting assistance in investigating a suspect who allegedly stole some US$4 million in cash from President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo. 

The statement comes after the Namibian Police Force's claims that a formal request was made to South Africa to confirm whether a crime had been registered in South Africa.

READ | 'He should also be charged': Readers react to 'farmgate', call out Fraser's 'smoke and mirrors'

The Namibian police said no response was received from South African authorities, resulting in the cancellation of the preservation order and release of the assets. 

However, in a statement on Tuesday, ministry spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said it had "closely followed media reports and a statement by the Namibian Police Force concerning a request for mutual legal assistance in respect of a suspect by the name of David Imanuwela".

Phiri said: 

We can categorically state that, to date, there is no official record of this specific request.

He said there was a process that needed to be followed in procedures for "serving for mutual legal assistance".

Phiri said the requesting state would have to submit the request at the South African Embassy or High Commission in that particular state.

The South African Embassy or High Commission would then submit the request to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

"Dirco then provides proof of receipt and then transmits the request to the Central Authority, being the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

"Alternatively, the requesting state can serve the request for mutual legal assistance via its embassy or high commission in the state from which it seeks information or assistance. The requesting state's embassy or high commission will serve the request on Dirco."

ALSO READ | Not even ANC top six in the loop as Ramaphosa remains mum on Phala Phala ahead of NWC meeting

The ministry said all requests for mutual legal assistance between Namibia and South Africa followed these processes without any complications.

"South Africa and its sister republic Namibia continue to work together collaboratively on issues of mutual legal assistance in accordance with the Southern African Development Community Protocol and other related bilateral treaties. So far, there has not been any development that necessitates any change of approach when dealing with matters of this nature."

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