The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Struggle to Get Cash Heist Trial Going

ANOTHER attempt to resume the trial of six men accused of involvement in a multimillion-dollar cash-in-transit heist near Windhoek at the end of 2004 is due to be made in the High Court in Windhoek tomorrow.

The trial of the six men, who are accused of having played a role in an armed robbery in which N$5,735 million was allegedly stolen from a cash-in-transit vehicle in the Brakwater area north of Windhoek in the early morning hours of December 29 2004, has been marked by interruptions and long postponements since it began before Judge Naomi Shivute three years ago.

The trial was supposed to resume yesterday after a postponement of nine months, but was again postponed, until tomorrow, after Deputy Prosecutor General Belinda Wantenaar asked the court to be given more time to consult witnesses who are to testify for the prosecution.

Wantenaar's request drew vehement objections from the defence lawyers involved in the matter, but Judge Shivute finally granted the prosecution time until tomorrow to consult its witnesses.

Wantenaar told the judge that only one of three witnesses who were supposed to travel from South Africa to testify in the trial was present at court yesterday. Having consulted that witness, she decided not to present his testimony to the court at this stage, as his evidence needs to be backed up with a chart which he has provided to the police, but which now appears to be missing, Wantenaar said.

She also still needed to consult three local witnesses who could testify in the trial, she added.

On trial before Judge Shivute are Jan Julius (41), who was one of the two security company employees travelling in the targeted cash-in-transit vehicle of Fidelity Cash Management Services when the alleged heist took place, Jason Awene (46), who is also known as 'Kilingi' and who is alleged to have been the robber who carried out the heist after Julius had picked him up as a supposed hitch-hiker, George Jambeinge (42), Mateus Hauwanga (42), Benedictus Kasimbingwe (49), and Elikana Nghimwena (40).

The six accused pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances at the start of their trial on January 19 2010.

The trial proceeded for nearly three weeks until one of the defence lawyers withdrew from the matter because he was also representing one of the prosecution's witnesses in another trial.

The trial ended up being postponed for more than two years, and then proceeded for only two days in mid-April last year before the prosecution asked for a postponement to enable it to arrange for witnesses from South Africa to travel to Windhoek to give evidence in the trial.

The six accused are free on bail.

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