NINE prominent northern businessmen who were arrested by Oshana Police and charged with the illegal possession of AK-47s in March this year are expected to appear at the Ondangwa Magistrate Court next week Wednesday.
Amongst those arrested were Mayor of Omuthiya and owner of Spotman, Hiskiel “Spotman” Nanyeni, well-known businessman and owner of popular bar chain Huhu City, Paavo “Kansas City” Amwele, Spy Motor Spares owner Sakeus Kanyuguli and owner of Matheus 2nd hand, Paulus Matheus.
Oshigambo businessmen, Werner Namugongo and David Ndungulu were also arrested alongside Nangolo Nekongo and owner of an Ondangwa-based gun shop, Andreas Kalumbu and his wife, Feni Kalumbu.
At the time of the arrest, the police said the AK-47s were semi-automatic, and the group was allegedly in the process of unlawfully upgrading them to full automatic weapons.
The group will be prosecuted under Section 29(1)(A) of the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1996, which prohibits possession of any automatic weapons by civilians.
They are also facing charges of false representation in obtaining firearm licences, an offence under Section 38(1) of the same Act.
Despite the damning evidence against them, at least three of the accused businessmen, Nanyeni, Amwele and Matheus have sworn their innocence, saying they went through proper channels to receive their licences.
Matheus this week told Informanté that he, Nanyeni and Amwele bought the guns in 2007 at a gun shop owned by Kalumbu.
“We went through proper procedures and waited three months to get our gun licences. First, the licence applications went to the Ondangwa Police Station commander, then they went through to a Chief Inspector at the Oshakati Police Station. The licence applications were eventually sent to the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, who approved them,” said Matheus.
According to Matheus, despite showing the police the licences, they were still arrested.
“Until today, we still don’t understand why we were arrested. We had those guns for two years without anyone saying anything,” said Matheus.
When asked why he and his co-accused had chosen AK-47s, Matheus said the guns were mainly purchased for protection against criminals who often steal from their businesses.
“I have many businesses, so I need a big gun to protect myself. A small pistol just won’t do. I need something better,” said Matheus.