Two years ago, residents at Olukekete village in northern Namibia began asking each other who was funding the major renovations of the traditional homestead where Imanuwela David grew up.
It was transformed from a small structure to an electrified house.
A new building, two lodges and flush toilets were built. The village also noticed that David was driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
David, 35, a foreigner born in Namibia but holds a South African citizenship and has worked in South Africa as a soldier in the past, is accused of being the mastermind behind the February 2020 heist of an estimated $4m (about R63m) in cash from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo.
He was named with four other Namibians, Umbanus Shaumbwako, Petrus Muhekeni, Erkki Shikongo and Petrus Afrikaner, in a statement by former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser to police two weeks ago.
The village homestead belongs to Mwaambange Shikunda, an elder at Olukekete village in the Omusati region, about 15km from the town of Outapi.
Villagers who spoke to The Namibian newspaper and know the Olukekete homestead this week said the property had been transformed in 2020.
“Residents of the village were surprised and started asking each other questions as to who was behind the upgrading of the house.
“It was a major upgrade and everybody was shocked, because the house was looked down upon. Only one person in the house is employed. Later on the story of the robbery surfaced,” a village resident said.
The construction of the house has become the subject of a police investigation. According to a police report on David, compiled by the former head of the police’s criminal investigations directorate, commissioner Nelius Becker, in June 2020, a 12-room building was constructed.
In the report, Becker suggested that police should approach Shikunda and ask who was funding the construction at her homestead.
David was arrested on June 14 2020 for allegedly illegally crossing into Namibia via the Orange River at Rooiwal, near Noordoewer.