9 February 2018

Namibia: Ex-Guard Waits for Murder Trial Verdict

A FORMER security guard accused of having robbed, raped and murdered a young barlady in Windhoek more than six years ago is set to hear the verdict in his trial in the High Court next week.

The judgement in the trial of Moses Puleni (32) was scheduled to be delivered in the Windhoek High Court yesterday, but was postponed to Wednesday next week after judge Nate Ndauendapo indicated that he needed more time to complete his judgement.

The prosecution is alleging that Puleni raped, robbed and murdered an 18-year-old woman, Paulina Nghidinitango, during the night of 30 to 31 December 2011 at a shebeen in Windhoek where she was working and he was stationed as a security guard.

Nghidinitango was found dead and tied up in the locked shebeen on 31 December 2011. Puleni was not at the scene when the woman was found. He was arrested at Ondangwa two days later.

The state is alleging that Puleni killed Nghidinitango by strangling her with his bare hands or a cable or piece of wire, or by smothering her with a towel.

Puleni is also accused of having raped her, and having robbed her by stealing N$69 000 in cash and goods, including two cellphones, three wallets, alcohol, cigarettes and cellphone recharge vouchers from the premises of the shebeen.

Puleni denied guilt on charges of murder, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances when his trial began in May 2015.

During the trial, judge Ndauendapo heard that Puleni had a lot of cash in his possession, and was buying drinks for various people when he was seen hanging out in bars in Katutura on 31 December 2011. He travelled by bus to the north the next morning.

The court also heard that the DNA profile of a semen sample found in the private parts of Nghidinitango and of samples found under her fingernails matched the DNA profile of a sample collected from Puleni. He explained that potentially incriminating evidence, though, by claiming that he and Nghidinitango had been involved in a secret relationship which only the two of them knew about, and that they had intercourse on the night before her death.

Further evidence heard during the trial was that Puleni left a laptop bag containing about N$18 000 in cash with his grandmother at a village in the Ohangwena region after his arrival in the North.

The police found the bag and the money after his arrest.

According to Puleni, the money in the bag was savings that he had been putting away.

While Puleni denied guilt during his trial, the court also heard that after his arrest, he initially admitted that he had strangled Nghidinitango.

Puleni is being kept in custody. He is being represented by defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji.

Deputy prosecutor general Dominic Lisulo is representing the state.

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