17 April 2013

Namibia: Tycoon Acquitted On Assault

Rundu — The Rundu Magistrate's Court on Tuesday acquitted Rundu tycoon Tulio Van der Merwe Parreira, who was accused of assaulting businessman Filinto Dos Santos in 2009.

Speaking to New Era after the court proceedings, Parreira said: "That case is done my mate (and) I am as innocent as a pastor." On Monday afternoon the two estranged businessmen were back in court over an assault case that dates back to 2009. The alleged attack was sparked after the complainant allegedly insulted Parreira's wife and ended up being beaten until he was unconscious.

The court on Monday heard how Tulio Van der Merwe Parreira alias 'Sakka' allegedly hit Filinto Dos Santos, knocking him unconscious in the process at Omashare Lodge on a Sunday afternoon in 2009. Parreira, who has many business interests at the town, is also involved in farming, accommodation and brickmaking, while Dos Santos is the owner of the town's well-renowned Omashare Lodge.

Dos Santos took a backseat in court as he watched one of his waitresses, the only eyewitness in the case, being ripped apart by the defence team while presenting her testimony. Court documents indicate that Dos Santos allegedly told Parreira's wife: "I am annoyed so fuck off [from] my place." Parreira's lawyer, Evert Gouws, had a field day in court on Monday as he systematically shredded to pieces the testimony of Elina Ndeshihafela, the sole witness of the incident.

Following intense grilling by the defence it emerged that her statement to the police failed to correspond with her testimony in court. "All I am saying is that the statement that is with the defence is not what I read this morning when I consulted the public prosecutor," said the eyewitness. She concluded by conceding that her version that the accused hit the complainant with the left arm was indeed incorrect before standing down. When asked by Gouws whether she wanted to change her rendition of what transpired, she said she was confused when she gave the statement to the police since it was the first time she had met the accused.

"On that day, Filinto came into the bar asking for a cigarette and a lighter, on his way out the accused asked him why he (Filinto) insulted his wife (Parreira's) and knocked him down. He was lying there unconsciously bleeding from the nose and he was taken to hospital," she recalled the violent encounter between the two men. With Ndeshihafela being an employee of Dos Santos for the past seven years, Gouws cornered her into admitting that "it will not be a positive move for your future employment if you testify against him."

Magistrate Helen Olaiya presided, while public prosecutor Elina Hashipara represented the State.

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