Amid persistent rumours of an assassination, the N$30 million Avid corruption case has suffered a further set-back with the sudden and mysterious death of police investigator, Constable Chaolin Tjitemisa, in a car accident last month. The Serious Crime Unit’s Tjitemisa (33) died on 14 April, hours after the vehicle in which he was travelling overturned on the gravel road between Gobabis and Epukiro.
The accident report states that late Tjitemisa was the driver, but his sister, Monalisa Achakhoes, maintains that the vehicle was driven by his younger brother when the light pick-up overturned 52 kilometers outside Gobabis.
A police officer (name withheld) could not confirm whether Tjitemisa was indeed the driver. “I was told at the scene that someone else was the driver. The manner in which the relatives acted, by hitch-hiking with the deceased to Gobabis, leaving him at the hospital and proceeding to a funeral without informing the police does not make sense. The actual driver was either highly intoxicated or does not posses a driver’s license,” says the officer.
The death of Tjitemisa further delays the investigation into the alleged suicide of Lazarus Kandara, kingpin in the Avid scandal in which N$30 million was siphoned from the Social Security Commission (SCC) under the pretext of an offshore investment. Only two of the four initial Nampol investigators are still involved in the case following the resignation of Detective Chief Inspector Oscar Sheehama in March 2006.
The team led by Sheehama, including Tjitemisa, escorted Kandara on the night of 24 August 2005, when the Avid CEO allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself through the heart with a pistol right in front of the main Windhoek police station.
Unconfirmed and tenacious rumours suggest that Tjitemisa’s death may have been a carefully orchestrated assassination. Tjitemisa is rumoured to be the one who shot Kandara.
Former Avid and Namangol director, Nico Josea, now remains the only key suspect with inside knowledge of the Avid case. Josea also received death threats last year, but says he has not received any threats since June last year. An SMS text sent to his mobile and quoted in a Namrights report reads; “U are the next to die u wil pay the blood of Lazarus Kandara… [sic].”
Five of the accused in the Avid fraud case, Swapo MP Paulus Kapia, Inez //Gases, Ralph Blaauw, his wife Sharon and retired NDF Brigadier, Mathias Shiweda, appeared in the High Court last month. Lawyer Otniel Podewiltz and Josea did not turn up and a warrant for their arrest was issued, though it was withdrawn shortly afterwards. The seven accused are separately charged with fraud, corruption, alternative theft and giving false evidence. Their case was postponed to September this year.