Police in the Australia and Netherlands provided information that led Namibian detectives to Windhoek local Johann Maree, who is accused of conducting many sex crimes with minor boys and distributing child pornography to paedophiles on the internet.
This was carried to the magistrate CelmaAmadhilaat the timeNelius Becker, the Namibian Police commissioner appeared before her in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court for a bail solicitation by Mareeon Wednesday.
A former police officer Maree (50), who re-joined Namibian Police as a reserve just before his custody last yearApril at the end, applied for release 14 days ago.
Becker recalled that in 2019, while he was the national chief of the police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate, a request from the Dutch police for information from the Namibian Police appeared on his desk.
The request, regarding a Namibian person’s involvement in the trafficking of child pornography, was made after a Dutch citizen was arrested in the Netherlands and pornographic material and email messages were taken from him, according to Becker.
Records of money transfers between the Dutch citizen and Maree were also confiscated, he claimed.
As luck would have it, Becker recognised the person mentioned in the Dutch police request.
Maree was living in an apartment building near Becker in Windhoek at the time.
Becker went on to say that the Dutch police put him in touch with an officer in Queensland, Australia, whose job it is to monitor material on the “dark web” – a murky internet underworld hidden from normal search engines where dealings and exchanges can take place involving anything from drugs and illegal weapons to stolen goods and child pornography.
The Australian cop had been watching a ‘dark web‘ site where a person calling himself ‘jackinlad’ had posted several films and images, and had linked ‘jackinlad’ to Maree, who was thousands of kilometres away in Windhoek.
According to Becker, the officer in Queensland forwarded the material posted by ‘jackinlad’ to the police in Namibia, where it was viewed and seen to consist of recordings of young boys in a bathroom, showing some of them in sex acts, and also photographs from video recordings of boys visiting a bathroom at the Olympia public swimming pool in Windhoek.
He stated that the police were able to track down several of the lads depicted in the Australian police material, and they provided statements in which they claimed they were unaware cameras were recording them.
The police went to Maree’s leased home in Windhoek after obtaining a search warrant.
Becker stated that during a search of the premises, “various sexual paraphernalia” as well as spy cameras were discovered.
When questioned, Maree gave his password to an encrypted email service provider in Switzerland. Becker told the magistrate that his username for that email service was ‘jackinlad16.’
He also testified that the police had identified youngsters with whom Maree had contact.
They were interviewed in the presence of a social worker and admitted to engaging in sexual actions with Maree.
Becker stated that Maree appears to have targeted youngsters from problematic homes, some of whom were in a children’s home in Windhoek, and that he groomed them by purchasing them gifts. There was also a pattern of him bringing boys to his residence for sexual games and encouraging them to perform sexual actions, he claimed.
According to Becker, Maree first cooperated with the authorities and confessed to a magistrate.
Maree has since denied making the confession. On Wednesday, he informed the magistrate that he confessed because a police official promised him that if he did, he would be granted bail. He further said that the officer had given him advice on what he should say in his confession.
If Maree is released on bail, he might simply flee to South Africa, where he has lived, according to Becker.
The bail hearing is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. The state is represented by public prosecutor Phelem Like. Maree is represented by defence attorney Eva Maria Nangolo.