19 December 2012

Namibia: Shaduka Still At Large

Businessman and convicted murderer Lazarus Natangwe Shaduka continues to evade arrest after his conviction and sentence on culpable homicide for the death of his wife was dramatically overturned to a conviction of murder, and subsequently a 20-year jail term.

Shaduka crossed the border into neighbouring Angola a couple of hours after this dramatic turnaround. According to Police Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa, Shaduka has not "officially" returned to Namibia, but the public are asked to inform their nearest police station if they see him.

In a manner reminiscent of law movies, Shaduka spent almost two years of freedom after Judge Kato van Niekerk acquitted him of murder, in a judgment that sparked widespread outrage. She found him guilty only on the lesser charge of culpable homicide, although she conceded in her judgment that Shaduka's version of what happened was far from the truth.

Judge Van Niekerk also found that Shaduka had tampered with evidence when she convicted him of obstructing the course of justice. For both these offences he was sentenced to a N$25 000 fine or one year imprisonment on the conviction of culpable homicide and N$2 000 or two months in jail on the conviction of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

Shaduka was convicted on August 23, 2011 following the fatal shooting of his wife, Selma Shaimemanya, in life the personal assistant of the Minister of Defence, at their home in the Eros Suburb of Windhoek on the evening of Sunday, July 13, 2008.

Shaimemanya died as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of her neck, with the projectile severely damaging her internal organs.

Prosecutor Belinda Wantenaar introduced Shaimemanya's father as her only witness during arguments at the trial. The senior Shaimemanya read out a passionate statement on behalf of his family to a packed C-Court in Windhoek in August last year.

However, that did not sway Judge Van Niekerk as she saw it fit to fine Shaduka instead of sending him to prison, because according to her Shaduka did not need any more jail time and that a fine could just as well serve as a deterrent.

The Supreme Court made a legal reversal after the State appealed the conviction and sentence in January this year and scored a major victory for victims of senseless killings.

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