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Cental bank, ministry in dark over N$60b ‘stolen’ from credit scheme

THE Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Namibia (BoN) yesterday declined to comment on a police investigation involving the alleged theft of N$60 billion – just N$10 billion shy of government’s 2022/23 budget – from an entity called Credit Union Namibia.

Finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi on 24 February last year announced a N$70,7 billion national budget in the National Assembly.

The police yesterday announced they are on the hunt for the alleged thieves of N$60 billion belonging to investors in a credit scheme.

Finance ministry spokesperson Wilson Ashikoto yesterday said: “On this matter, we are not privy to the information. Therefore, we referred you to the regulator of credit bureaus in the country, which is the Bank of Namibia.”

BoN spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka yesterday said the matter is “in the domain of law enforcement”.

“All enquiries should be directed to the Namibian Police,” he said.

The police, in a brief crime report, yesterday announced they are looking for a suspect(s) who allegedly got away with investors’ N$60 billion.

This comes after chief executive officer of Credit Union Namibia, Theron Rupping Louie (56), opened a case of fraud in December last year.

“It’s alleged that the suspects unlawfully and intentionally took money intended for the investors,” the report read.

Police spokesperson warrant officer Silas Shipandeni yesterday said the case was opened at the Klein Windhoek Police Station.

No further details were provided on how the theft took place, and no arrest has been made yet.

The Namibian contacted a man by the name of ‘Theron’, who confirmed he was connected to Credit Union Namibia.

“You must get your facts in order, the facts are not in order,” he said and hung up.

After further investigation, The Namibian discovered that Credit Union Namibia operates under a Facebook company page called ‘Fur Group Pty Ltd’, which is an online trading scheme.

One of the posts on the page reads: “Deposit R1 000 and qualify for a loan of R10 000. Open a bank account with Credit Union of Namibia (CUN) today and benefit from all CUN outstanding banking services.

“Open an account today with the largest e-banking Credit Union and receive N$200 to use on purchases.”

The account also encourages people to invest and bank with credit unions online.

“The credit union online banking makes it super easy to bank on the go 24/7, manage your everyday banking needs everywhere any time, directly from your mobile device.

“Own the bank that you bank with CUN,” one of the company’s Facebook posts reads.

Twilight Capital managing director Mally Likukela says if it’s true that such an amount has gone missing, there is a serious weakness in the supervision of the commercial entity’s operations.

“We need to establish whether it was stolen once off or over a period of time. If it was, then there is a serious weakness with the internal control of the company.

“There is a serious weakness in the supervision of the banking of the commercial entity and the BoN as it supervises credit businesses . . . if the story is true,” he says.

Likukela says it would have an effect on investors and the image of Namibia at large.

“This simply means investors in Namibia are panicking right now. If it’s online trading, the BoN, which is supposed to prevent this kind of business, is not doing its job,” he said.

According to Bipa, a company by the name of Credit Union Namibia (incorporated association not for gain) was registered in August 2020.

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