16 November 2012

Namibia: Magistrate Back in Court On Corruption Charges

THE case in which a former Oshakati-based magistrate is charged with multiple counts under the Anti-Corruption Act has been transferred from the High Court at Oshakati to Windhoek.

Suspended Magistrate Melaney Theron made a first pre-trial appearance before Judge President Petrus Damaseb in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday. She had previously appeared in the High Court at Oshakati, until her case was transferred to Windhoek.

Judge President Damaseb informed Theron that her case has been assigned to Judge Nate Ndauendapo, in front of whom she would have to make her next pre-trial court appearance on January 23.

Theron remains free on bail, and suspended from her position as magistrate.

She told The Namibian yesterday that she would be pleading not guilty to all of the charges she is facing, and that she denies the allegations being made against her.

Theron is facing a total of 20 main charges.

Those main charges are made up of seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing an offence, which is also an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act, two charges of corruptly soliciting or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe, and six counts of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

The offences that Theron is accused of are alleged to have been committed at the Oshakati MagistrateÂ’s Court, where she was stationed, between May 26 2011 and August 15 2011.

Theron is alleged to have accepted amounts of money, totalling N$6 600, from various people who were accused of traffic offences. She allegedly used that money for her personal benefit.

It is also alleged that she cancelled warrants of arrest which had been issued against the accused traffic offenders, and that she in some instances recorded on court records that the cases against the people had been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after they had pleaded guilty, while they in fact had not appeared in court.

Theron is set to be represented by defence lawyer Sisa Namandje.

State advocate Shakwa Nyambe represented the prosecution yesterday.

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