Neckartal Contractor Detains Journalists

A group of journalists were detained for more than 30 minutes at Salini SPA’s premises at the construction site of the Neckartal Dam in the south.

Salini SPA is the Italian firm that clinched the N$2.8 billion contract to build Neckartal Dam near Keetmanshoop.

Hoandi !Gaeb, a journalist working for New Era at Keetmanshoop, Luqman Cloete of The Namibian newspaper and the NBC’s Ellen Nanuses and cameraman Eslon Jeapa went to the construction site following a tip-off about alleged illegal smuggling of cigarettes, amongst others, at the site.

Upon arrival they introduced themselves as journalists and started taking pictures of the people standing around. That is when a man who introduced himself as the “financial manager” approached them and accused them of trespassing. According to !Gaeb, the Salini employee then threatened to confiscate their cameras and the TV equipment of the national broadcaster. He proceeded to lock the gate and detained them for more than 30 minutes. The police were called, but they failed to show up, ostensibly because they deemed the case as ‘trivial’.

When the police failed to show up Salini security guards were summoned but they aised the “financial manager” that he had no right to detain journalists and that he should free them immediately.

!Gaeb narrated that the Italian “financial manager” told them in no uncertain terms ‘you think you can do what you want as you are Namibians’. They laughed out of disbelief at his behaviour before the visibly angry manager left and the guards opened the gates for them. According to !Gaeb, they had received information that the directorate of customs and excise, as well as immigration and the police were on site investigating a cigarette scam.

Meanwhile two men of Italian origin were yesterday afternoon taken in for questioning in connection with alleged illegal importation of cigarettes and other unspecified goods.

Source : New Era