“HE sounded professional.”
These were the words of minister of defence and veterans affairs Frans Kapofi as he yesterday explained how he was allegedly swindled out of N$200 000 by a man claiming to work for a well-known bank two weeks ago.
He said he had no reason to suspect a professional-sounding voice on the phone.
The police say they suspect the mastermind behind the alleged fraud is a businessman from the Zambezi region, Owen Nawa Mahoto, who is now wanted in connection with the incident.
Deputy commissioner Given Kaura of the police’s Crime Investigations Unit yesterday confirmed the case, saying Mahoto is wanted in connection with fraud.
The police have issued a public notice requesting anyone who knows Mahoto’s whereabouts to come forward with information.
Mahoto, however, yesterday told The Namibian he is the victim.
Kapofi yesterday said he received a phonecall two weeks ago from a man who “professionally” introduced himself as an employee of Standard Bank Namibia’s security department.
The minister then asked the caller what he wanted.
“What happened is that the person called me, saying: ‘Mr Kapofi, did you give permission to someone to withdraw from your account?” Kapofi said.
When he said no, Kapofi said the ‘bank employee’ offered to assist him with his accounts.
“He said he wanted to stop the [unauthorised] process. Then he started saying my account number and branch number, so I confirmed. Then he just took my money.”
Kapofi said he is waiting for the preliminary results of the police’s investigation.
“The person used the name of someone in the bank. But I am just waiting for the preliminary investigation by the police, then we take it from there,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mahoto yesterday telephonically told The Namibian he and the minister are both victims in the case.
“I only discovered from 25 August, when I was expecting my salary, that my account was deactivated. I then called the bank to find out from my private banker what was going on.
“After following up on a Monday, I learned fraud was committed on my account, and I asked for an explanation from the bank. They told me they were conducting an investigation. Later on, I saw the police were also involved.
“The N$200 000 was paid into my account, but I have nothing to do with this. My notifications were also deactivated, so nothing was coming through to my phone. Otherwise I would have stopped it immediately,” he said.
Mahoto, who co-owns Omig Technology Systems, a young information technology company specialisising in software, hardware networks and web designing, said he only later found out it was the minister’s money.
“I believe Mr Kapofi and I are both victims in this. I also bank with Standard Bank, so as a customer, how can I possibly do this?” he asked.
He said the police have contacted him, and he told them he would visit them today.
Kapofi is among four candidates nominated for the Swapo vice-presidency position, and by implication the party’s 2024 presidential candidate.
Other candidates are prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta.
“The case is very sensitive right now, and we have issued a public poster. We are investigating, and are on the right track,” Kaura yesterday said.
Kapofi two weeks ago opened a case of fraud against Mahoto at the Windhoek Police Station.
The police have also issued a public notice on their social media platforms in search of Mahoto.
“The suspect is wanted in connection with a Windhoek fraud case, involving an amount of N$200 000. He is originally from the Zambezi region,” the notice reads.