29 January 2013

Namibia: Family Concerned Over Murder Case 'Delay'

IN JUNE 2007, on a Saturday night after a Tate Boetie concert in Swakopmund, Leonard Shikongo (who was 28 at the time) was stabbed to death in Tamariskia's main road. And while three suspects were arrested and granted bail, the case has been taken off the roll twice. To date the family are still waiting for justice.

"He was murdered in cold blood. They arrested the suspects and gave them bail. They are free now. There were witnesses. The case was removed from the roll twice. Until now, we have not heard anything. The three suspects have been free for more than five years. What if they and the witnesses abscond, or leave town or the country? This is a case of justice delayed; justice denied," said the victim's uncle, Gideon Abner.

The late Shikongo and a friend went to Vineta Shell after the concert to buy something to eat. They were walking back along Vrede Rede road when three men attacked them. Shikongo's friend managed to escape but Shikongo was not so fortunate. He was stabbed in the neck and died in the street. The motive of the attack was unknown.

Thanks to his friend, the three suspects, Jurgen Naruseb, Jackson Ndjitaviva and Patrick Oaseb, were arrested the same night and charged with murder. They appeared in the Swakopmund magistrate's court and were granted bail.

The case was postponed for further investigation on a few occasions, and was eventually struck from the roll in 2009.

"We followed this up with the chief of Erongo police; the chief regional investigation coordinator, the investigating officer and the prosecutor. We wanted to know what was happening. Why was the case being delayed like this?" Abner told The Namibian.

Allegedly, because of these inquiries, the case was brought back to court in 2010, but removed again in 2011, "and still no one can tell us why".

"The court has everything they need to prosecute the suspects," Abner said.

Court records from November 28 2011 state that the case was forwarded to the prosecutor general for a decision, but the decision was not available by that time.

A police source informed The Namibian on Friday that the case was still with the prosecutor general for a decision, and once this decision is made, the matter would be brought to court again - even if it is more than five years later.

The Namibian understands that cases pending for five years or more are not unusual. In fact, there are some cases that are still awaiting conclusion after ten years or more.

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