20 April 2017

Namibia: Three Walk Free in Unam Murder Case

Windhoek — Three suspects in the fatal shooting and killing of University of Namibia (Unam) employee Gideon Jimmy Shililifa in 2013 walked away scot-free yesterday, because the investigating officer failed to comply with the instructions of the prosecutor-general (PG) several times.

"This is a mockery of justice. The State deemed the charges serious, which I do not dispute. However, it should have treated this case with the outmost seriousness it deserves," said Magistrate Celma Amadhila.

The court highlighted that the accused cannot be punished while the State investigates the case. Furthermore, they are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Gideon Kalume, Samuel Linelao Shawelaka and Cowen Behji Lebereki were ecstatic after their case was struck from the roll, as they were facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstance, theft and housebreaking with intent to steal.

According to the prosecution, only 17 instructions from the PG have been complied with, leaving 13 instructions that are yet to be finalised, although the matter had been investigated for more than two years.

The trio were arrested in 2013 for the fatal shooting in Hochland Park of 39-year-old Shililifa, whose body was later found dumped in the vicinity of Otjomuise.

It is alleged that prior to the shooting the three broke into a flat in Ausspannplatz in Windhoek armed with a firearm and knife and stole goods valued over N$37,000.

Kalume and his co-accused reportedly also broke into another flat located in Windhoek West and robbed at gunpoint four people who were sleeping at the time, according to the State.

They managed to get away with a flatscreen TV, four cellphones, two laptops and a playstation console and also stole one of the victim's vehicles and used it as a getaway car. The stolen vehicle was later used to transport Shililifa's corpse, it is alleged. The suspects then abandoned the vehicle near Otjomuise, according to the indictment.

The investigator on the case, Sakaria Amakali, pleaded with the court to grant him three more weeks to comply with the PG's instructions and obtain witness statements, even though the matter had been postponed seven times for the PG's instructions to be complied with.

Instead, the court ordered the immediate release of Lebereki, who was still in custody and that the bail money of Shawelaka and Kalume be returned to them.

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