Twenty years and ten years respectively were the sentences handed down on Thursday by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute to the two men convicted on various charges in one of the biggest cash heists in Namibian history.
Jan Julius, 45, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his conviction of armed robbery with aggravating circumstances of N$3.7 million and George Jambeinge, 45, to ten years imprisonment on a conviction of theft of N$1.52 million.
She said they stole out of greed and the offence was premeditated and involved lot of planning.
“The accused persons did not show genuine remorse, as they only said they have accepted the verdict of the court, instead of taking responsibility for the crimes they have committed,” the judge stressed.
They were convicted in August after a trial that lasted more than six years, but were only sentenced this week.
Judge Shivute said although Julius had previous convictions she did not take it into account for the purpose of sentencing. The fact that Jambeinge is a first offender weighed heavily in his favour, she said, but stressed that while the two convicts pleaded for mercy, it does not mean the court should not impose an appropriate, reasonable and justified sentence in the circumstances.
The offence of robbery committed by Julius is very serious and rampant and this goes for the offence of theft committed by Jambeinge as well, the judge said. According to the judge, the amounts involved were very high.
She said Julius stole from his employer, while he was entrusted, but instead connived and planned with others to steal the money. “This offence was premeditated and well calculated,” the judge remarked and added that the money was given away to several people immediately after it was stolen.
She noted that Julius was convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances of N$3.71-million, which is a substantial amount of money. According to the judge, Julius was in a position of trust and he betrayed his employer by breaching that trust. “Because of the position he held, this attracts a stiff sentence,” the judge said.
According to Shivute, the interest of society demands that a deterrent sentenced be imposed: “It’s high time for those convicted of committing crimes and would-be offenders to realise that such conduct has no place in our society and that the courts view criminal behaviour in a serious light.”
She said although both accused are family men, who look after their children and other dependants, unfortunately through their reckless conduct, they have placed the wellbeing of the people they look after in jeopardy.
She said both men have other commitments, apart from the maintenance of their family members and associates, such as paying instalments on hire purchases, but indulged in criminal activities, thus risking their properties to be repossessed.
In the end, the judge said, she considered all the facts in the case and the principles regarding sentencing and was of the view that the interests of society far outweigh the personal circumstances of the accused and thus did not consider a fine or a suspended sentence appropriate in the circumstances.
State Advocate Anita Meyer appeared on behalf of the State and both Julius and Jambeinge were represented by Jorge Neves on instructions of the Department of Legal Aid.