16 January 2013

Namibia: Fraud Suspect Pienaar Still Wants Out of Cell

FRAUD suspect Adriaan Pienaar's tenth attempt to get a court order for his detention in a hospital rather than a police holding cell came to the same end as its predecessors - failure - in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Pienaar was back in the High Court for the tenth time since October last year with an urgent application in which he was asking the court to order that he should be kept under police guard in Windhoek Central Hospital. He says he is suffering from a "severe form of phobic anxiety disorder" which results in him experiencing panic attacks when he is kept in a confined space.

All of Pienaar's previous urgent applications on the same issue have ended in failure. In his latest application the result was the same yesterday.

Judge Elton Hoff, stating that Pienaar failed to show any reason why the matter had to be heard on an urgent basis, dismissed the application with costs.

The judge also noted that a serious allegation has been made that a signature on an affidavit filed with the court may have been forged.

The affidavit was purportedly signed by a psychologist, Ockie Jooste, who had previously also completed reports in which he stated that Pienaar is claustrophobic and should in his opinion rather be kept in custody in a hospital.

Jooste is denying that he signed the affidavit which Pienaar filed with the court on Monday. This means that his signature has been forged, government lawyer Jabulani Ncube, who represented the minister of safety and security and the minister of health and social services, told Judge Hoff.

Ncube also told the judge that the police have taken steps to keep Pienaar in an open space at the Windhoek Police Station and to assist him when he wanted to be taken to see a medical doctor. The matter before the court has been dealt with previously and has been decided, Ncube said.

Pienaar (51), who is a South African citizen, was free on bail on fraud charges which are pending in the Windhoek Regional Court when he was arrested in connection with new charges on September 21 last year. Those charges stem from allegations that he had bought goods at a total price of more than half a million Namibia dollars from various businesses in the south of Namibia, and then did not pay for it.

Since his arrest he has also been charged with similar alleged offences committed at various other towns in Namibia.

In an affidavit filed with the High Court as part of his latest application, Pienaar has again alleged that the charges against him should actually be civil claims against him, rather than criminal charges, and that he should never have been arrested. He is claiming that he has merely bought goods on credit, without making any misrepresentation to the complainants who have laid charges against him.

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