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Illicit tombstone trade exposed by security guard

Illicit tombstone trade exposed by security guard

Niël Terblanché
AN alert security guard at the Golgota Cemetery in Windhoek exposed a racket involving undertakers raiding the tombstones and grave accessories like sculptures of Angels and Bibles for resale to bereaved families.
Three tomb raiders Jensley Eigab, Lazarus Gowaseb and Myles Kharogab were caught red handed when they brought back a tombstone that they have stolen earlier and could not use and stole new accessories which they loaded on the vehicle of the funeral undertaker.
The latest incident seems to be the tip of an ice berg as similar complaints of vandalism of the last resting places of passed on family members have been made country wide. Recently the cemetery in Rehoboth was renovated after vandals stole the metal lettering from grave stones nd even flowers from the graves of the recently deceased.
The undertaker and his two co-workers were arrested at the start of weekend after they raided the Golgota Cemetery to exchange a tombstone stolen during May with another. It is suspected the tombstone trade is driven by a syndicate.
Eigab, Gowaseb and Kharogab appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court on Monday after they have been charged with theft. It is alleged that they stole and exchnaged headstones and other grave accessories.
During May this year two other men were arrested by the Windhoek City Police after they were found in possession of tombstones stolen from the Golgota and Pionierspark cemeteries.
According to the official report about the incident the value of the recovered tombstone is estimated to be N$13 000 while the stolen headstone is worth N$5 000.
During court proceedings it was indicated by the prosecutor that it was the accused persons’ first offence. Eigab, Gowaseb and Kharogab were set free on bail of N$1 500 each and the case was postponed until 15 November this year to allow the accused persons to apply for Legal Aid.

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