27 February 2013

Namibia: Aupindi, Di Savino Lawyers Want Recusal of Magistrate, Prosecutor

Windhoek — The defence team of Tobie Aupindi and Italian national Antonio di Savino who face corruption charges, yesterday demanded that Magistrate Helvi Shilemba and Prosecutor Arrie Husselman recuse themselves from the case as they were 'unfair' to their clients.

The defence team made the request after a private investigator, Larky McKay, revealed shocking revelations that Husselman allegedly wanted to see Aupindi in jail. The revelations come from affidavits taken from witnesses who were party to the alleged plot. Aupindi and Di Savino face two counts - one for allegedly providing false information to an authorised officer and another for attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

This comes after accusations that Di Savino had built a N$50 000 swimming pool at Aupindi's house in Hochland Park in return for lucrative tenders from Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), which Aupindi headed. Both men pleaded not guilty when their trial started in February last year. The State alleges the pool was paid for by Di Savino, as a gift for a contract he received from NWR.

While the State did not oppose the request, Magistrate Shilemba did not take the request lightly. The magistrate said it "was a trial ambush. So, I don't see why I should recuse myself."

Aupindi's defence lawyer Richard Metcalfe informed the magistrate that he would report the matter to the Magistrate's Commission. The defence lawyer requested that the prosecutor and the magistrate recuse themselves from the matter, because they have "displayed some bias".

Louis du Pisani, who is representing Di Savino agreed.

"I have no problem. I can't stop you," the magistrate replied. The magistrate postponed the matter to February 28, for the decision to be made on whether or not she should recuse herself from the case.

According to the private investigator, Husselman allegedly said he would like to see Tobie go to jail even for a short while, even six months. "He thinks he sh*ts ice cream," Husselman allegedly said, according to affidavits read in court by the private investigator.

"With all due respect the allegations are unfair to the accused. Someone must investigate them further," the investigator informed the court.

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