The case has already caused diplomatic ructions and may cut into local support for the ruling South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) in this year's elections. It also raises questions about the transparency and accountability of some of China's supply deals with Namibia and the rest of Africa, as Beijing emerged as the biggest foreign aid provider to the Windhoek government in recent years.
The ACC officials also picked up Lameck's business associate Jerobeam Mokaxwa, as well as Nuctech's African representative, Yang Fan, and confiscated US$4.2 million worth of assets. More arrests will follow, sources close to the investigation said.
Beijing was alerted to the significance of the anti-corruption probe in Windhoek when the investigators announced that they may call Hu Haifeng, son of China's President Hu Jintao, as a witness in the case. Hu Haifeng was President of Nuctech when the scanner deal was concluded between his company and Namibia's aviation authorities. He has since been promoted to Communist Party of China Secretary for the sprawling, 30-company Tsinghua Holdings which owns Nuctech.