Stolen meat case dismissed – Henties Bay mayor opens up

Sharlien Tjambari

Henties Bay mayor Herman Honeb says the past eighteen months was an emotional roller coaster for him and his family. It also affected his work life. Honeb opened up to namib times over his June 2017 arrest on a charge of having received and selling stolen meat, only for the case to be dropped against him recently in the Swakopmund magistrates court.

Apart from describing the emotional distress he had to go through, he is also disturbed by the way the Namibian Police handled the case from day one. He expressed concerns for Namibia as a democracy if that is the way police officers conduct themselves.
“The past one and a half years were quite emotional and has affected my family drastically and so did it affect my work environment”, Honeb said in an interview with namib times.
The stock theft charges which were laid against Honeb were dropped earlier this month by Magistrate Kandi Nangombe in the Swakopmund Magistrate court. Honeb and his co-accused Walter Hoëseb appeared on a charge of delivery of stock and receiving stock without a permit.
“Being implicated in this type of things was very ironic to me. I have been well-known for economic activities in Namibia, foreign countries and in exile. I have worked for organisations involving grass root people and I am a farmer. I have been supplying meat to the people of my town at an affordable price since I moved here. I also take note of the stock theft in the country and do not promote illegal activities”, said Honeb.
Even though his reputation was tarnished, the Mayor said he remained focused and dedicated to serve his people and his office because of his transparency and honesty.
Honeb took namib times through the series of events that led to his arrest.
Two days before his arrest he received a call from Hoëseb informing him that he had a cow to sell for meat as he needed money to purchase a vehicle. Hoëseb brought the meat to the Honeb’s residence that same day and left it there. Honeb was at the municipal offices at the time and was handing over a wheelchair to a disabled person.
“When I came home that day I noticed there was no permit or any other documents to account for the meat. I made a call to find out where the documents are and I was told the headman ordered the meat to be delivered, as he was afraid the meat could spoil. The paperwork would follow.
“It was a satisfactory explanation to me”, added Honeb.
He further said he informed his kapana meat clients and they came to collect the meat the following day which was on 16 June, while he [Honeb] was at Uis.
“It seems like the police was monitoring me. When I returned home that Friday, close to 13 police force members were at my house waiting for me. They informed me that they found stolen meat that was supplied from my house and they were there to arrest me”.
The following day, 17 June the Police came to arrest Honeb. They were allegedly very aggressive and started interrogating Honeb.
According to Honeb, the police did not produce a search warrant. He was arrested despite him offering an explanation. “If only they had listened. There was no thorough investigation that day. Had the police officers followed up on what I told them, they would have found the proof that same day and I wouldn’t have had to spend a minute in any police holding cell. Leave alone going through this embarrassing and tiresome court proceedings”.
The Mayor said he is not happy with the way the police handled the situation. “It is very concerning for the country, because if this is the way things are handled at NamPol then the country will face a lot of challenges. Crime will also increase”, he said.
“There might be innocent people behind bars right now”, said Honeb and expressed his satisfaction with the level of proficiency the magistrate handled the case.
During the chain of events and in his absence, Honeb was nominated by the Erongo Regional Council to serve as Chairperson of the Erongo Male Forum. “People still believe in me and my leadership” and I place this in very high regard”, said Honeb.
Honeb is encouraging Namibians to have a change of heart and do a soul search. Be innovative and enhance good partnerships. Urged community leaders to stop being greedy and to be honest and genuine in their work. “I remain focused on my work and try to forget what happened to me the past eighteen months”.
Background: in June 2017 Honeb and Hoëseb accepted one full cattle carcass without any documentation or identification and sold it for N$4 000-00. The incident allegedly took place at Erf. No. 1952 in Omaruru Drive in Henties Bay. The police recovered the carcass from the buyer on the day of the arrest and some cash from the accused.
The ear tags were that of the slaughtered cow. Permits were valid and the suspects (Honeb and Hoëseb) were never found with the stolen carcass in their possession. What transpired was that one of Honeb’s clients collected meat from Honeb’s house without reporting it, and that created a confusing situation which led to the arrests, the magistrate found before discharging them.

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