Namibian President suspends defence chief

Namibian President suspends defence chief Windhoek: Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has suspended the country's defence force chief over alleged "irregularities", which media on Thursday linked to possible kickbacks from a Chinese supplier.

"The decision to suspend Lieutenant General Martin Shalli stems from serious allegations of irregularities, which must be thoroughly investigated," a State House statement released late last night said.

"The suspension will facilitate an unhindered investigation."

No details were given on the probe, but the Namibian daily today reported possible links between Shalli and a Chinese company that supplies the Namibia Defence Force (NDF).

The newspaper reported that Shalli is accused of allegedly having millions of Namibian dollars transferred to him, through a third party, by the Chinese company.

The country's state prosecutor had recently travelled to China, among other countries, to finalise the investigation, the newspaper added.

The suspension is the second scandal involving Chinese firms to rock Namibia this month, following a graft probe involving a firm linked to the son of President Hu Jintao.

Two Namibians and a Chinese national were arrested last week as part of a probe into bribery allegations involving Nuctech, a company headed until last year by Hu's 38-year-old son, Hu Haifeng.

The three are expected to make a court appearance in the capital Windhoek tomorrow.

Bureau Report