N$200 bail for theft of rice

Ongwediva-The kapana seller whom police arrested on Monday for the alleged theft of a bag of drought relief rice has been released on bail.

Paulus Patitu from the Omaalala village was charged with theft in a case that was opened by Andreas Uutoni the councillor for Ongwediva Constituency last week.

Yesterday he appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court and was released on bail of N$200.

He was not asked to plead and his case was postponed to March 6.

The case emanates from his alleged refusal to take back a bag of rice earmarked for beneficiaries of drought relief.

He allegedly took the bag from the drought relief distribution centre at Omaalala without permission.

Uutoni confirmed to New Era he laid a criminal charge against Patitu on the 26th January 2017 after the latter refused to return the bag to the centre where he took it from without anyone's permission. He pointed out when he was informed about the incident he phoned the accused telling him about his taking the bag without permission.

But the answer Patitu gave was he took it because there are also people in the village who are receiving drought food to which they are not entitled.

I told him thank you for that information but what you did is wrong therefore return the bag and then come to me to register such a complaint, Uutoni explained, saying the news about the grabbing of the bag was conveyed to him on the 11th January 2017.

He told the accused he will give him enough time to consider returning the bag that he had grabbed.

I gave him three options � to take the bag to the point of distribution, my office or to take it to the leader of the centre but he refused to do it, Uutoni further stated.

Patitu said he took the bag of rice because he feels entitled to drought relief just like any other beneficiary who is unemployed.

I took the food because we are hungry, and on top of that I am taking care of a pensioner who is on ARV treatment who needs food as well, said Patitu who stays in a household of eleven people.

If the drought relief is for the unemployed we are not employed therefore we qualify to get it, stressed Patitu who says he survives on selling kapana at his village.

He was previously registered as a drought relief beneficiary, but was baffled about how his name was removed from the list, even though he still continues being unemployed.

He went on to claim that he has never seen Uutoni visiting and holding consultative meetings at his village.

Uutoni stated he had held four meetings with the people of the said village and also visited them when his office held a Christmas party for the elders in the village in December last year.

Uutoni explained the issue seems petty but if it is allowed to go unchallenged it will create chaos.

I am doing this so that people can realize that if one has done something wrong one would be taken to task, warned Uutoni

He encouraged anyone who feels aggrieved to follow the right procedures in registering a complaint and not commit a similar mistake.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia