11 December 2012

Namibia: Thirty Five Years for Swiegers Killers

Windhoek — The Windhoek High Court last Friday sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment each of the three men it convicted in September for the murder and robbery of prominent Windhoek resident Cornelius Jacobus Swiegers.

Judge Alfred Siboleka sentenced Max Kleopas (26), Festus Nepembe Kiimba (30) and Josef Taukondjo Shikongo (31) to 25 years each for the murder of Swiegers.

He further slapped the killers with an additional sentence of 10 years each for the robbery of Swiegers, who was well known in Namibia's car dealership business sector, the local golfing world and beyond.

Judge Siboleka ordered that the sentences should run consecutively, condemning the men to an effective 35 years behind bars.

During the sentencing the judge remarked that while the defence counsels for the convicts argued for mercy from the court, the seriousness of their crime and the interest of justice and society must be accorded equal weight as the personal circumstances of the convicted persons.

According to Judge Siboleka the victims in this instance were out minding their own business peacefully and without disturbing anyone when the convicted persons happened upon them.

He said that Kleopas and company passed by their victims and even greeted them, while knowing that they would wait until dark to go back and rob them of their hard earned possessions.

The judge was adamant that society in general was fed-up with people not respecting other people's right to a disturbance-free life, saying: "The natural indignation of society at large would let the administration of justice fall into disrepute with the consequence that injured persons may take the law into their own hands."

The judge sent out a strong warning to would-be offenders that the courts are tired of such behaviour and said that those found guilty would be made to feel the fullest wrath of the law.

Judge Siboleka also told the convicts that their personal circumstances are far outweighed by the crime they committed, the manner in which it was committed and the fact that mere seconds after Swiegers was gunned down they went on to rob him while he was lying there dying.

The judge ordered that the firearm used in the fatal attack be returned to its rightful owner and the items used as exhibits to their owners, while the property of Swiegers is to be returned to his brother.

Kleopas, Kiimba and Shikongo were convicted on the charges of robbing and killing Swiegers and robbery with aggravating circumstances for the robbery of the deceased's friend, Georgivis Pierre Isaaks and his daughters Raygene and Nicole Isaaks.

The party were on a comet-watch outing in the city's Goreangab Dam area in January 2007 to view and photograph Comet McNaught when the attack occurred.

Swiegers was also a keen amateur photographer and semi-professional journalist.

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