14 February 2013

Namibia: Rietoog Murder Going for Trial

The trial of the two men charged with the gruesome murder and violation of their victim's body will start on Monday in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Nate Ndauendapo.

The 31-year-old Siegfried Lewin and his co-accused 30-year-old Rayno Olivier face one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. Alternatively they face a charge of violating a dead body.

The State alleges Lewin and Olivier killed Ellis Mesututjike Tjipueja during the period of June 13 to 27 2007 near Rietfontein in the Rehoboth district.

They are also charged with robbing Tjipueja of N$20 000 in cash, an Isuzu pick-up (bakkie) and a cellphone by using force.

It is further alleged by the State that Lewin and Olivier set alight the body of Tjipueja after killing him, that they threatened witnesses with violence and that they extorted money from the wife of the deceased, Isolde Tjipueja, through intimidation.

The State alleges the accused knew that by his conduct he may frustrate or interfere with police investigations into the disappearance and/or death of the deceased and/or conceal the death and/or may destroy the physical evidence of an assault perpetrated on the deceased and/or that his conduct may protect him from being prosecuted for a crime in connection with the assault, disappearance and/or death of the deceased.

Tjipueja was a former general manager of the now defunct Development Fund of Namibia, while Lewin was a helper at Tjipueja's farm and was considered "part of the family", according to earlier reports.

Lewin remains in custody since his arrest in 2007 and his co-accomplice Olivier is out on bail of N$1 000.

Tjipueja's charred body was found under a bridge in the Rietoog area on June 28 2007 after he was missing for almost two weeks since his departure to his farm on June 14, 2007.

It is alleged that Lewin took the car to Tjipueja's wife a few days before the remains were discovered and allegedly extorted money from her for returning the vehicle.

The indictment lists 62 witnesses.

Lewin is represented by Boris Isaacks on the ticket of the Legal Aid Directorate, while Olivier secured the services of Advocate Winnie Christiaans also on instructions from the Legal Aid Directorate.

Advocate Palmer Khumalo is appearing for the State.

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