24 January 2013

Namibia: Errant Magistrate to Face Music in 2014

Windhoek — Suspended magistrate, Melaney Theron, will have to wait until next year to have her day in court, albeit on the other side of the bench.

Judge Nate Ndauendapo yesterday informed Theron that the only dates available for her trial is the period March 10-20 of next year and April 07-11, since he will be taking "long overdue long leave starting in August until January 2014".

Theron faces a staggering 20 charges, including seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing 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 State alleges that Theron committed these offences at the Oshakati Magistrate's Court where she was stationed between May 2011 and August 2011. Theron was nabbed by police in the Oshana Region during a sting operation when she was caught red-handed receiving an alleged N$1 000 bribe from an informant.

All in all it is alleged that the suspended magistrate accepted N$6 600 from various people accused of various traffic offences, money which she used for her personal benefit. The State further alleges that Theron also cancelled warrants of arrest issued against accused traffic offenders, while in some instances she entered in court records that cases against people had been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after pleading guilty, when in fact these people never appeared in court.

In one instance, court documents indicate that Theron received N$500 as gratification from a certain Kalusha Werner Iitembu for cancelling a warrant for his arrest. According to earlier reports members of the public who had fallen victim to Theron's dubious antics tipped off the police.

Theron who is on suspension with full pay and benefits is out on bail of N$7 000 and is set to be defended by Sisa Namandje. Theron earlier indicated she will plead not guilty to all charges and denies the accusations against her.

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