6 June 2018

Namibia: Refugee Commissioner Won't Be Suspended - Kapofi

Windhoek — With Home Affairs Commissioner for Refugees Likius Valombola a free man after being granted bail, the home affairs minister poured cold water on expectations to have him suspended until his criminal case is finalised.

Valombola, despite the seriousness of the case, was initially arrested and released under highly suspicious circumstances and only rearrested after a public outcry with allegations of police favouritism of the well-connected.

Valombola was granted N$15,000 bail last week following the shooting of Helao Ndjaba, who succumbed to gunshot injuries in the Katutura Intermediate Hospital's intensive care unit where he had battled for his life.

Ndjaba spent nine days on life support at the hospital before he died from a shooting triggered by a road rage incident that got out of control.

Ndjaba , who owned a printing shop with a friend, was shot in the head while waiting to get a taxi in Ombili Oshitenda on the evening of May 19, when Valombola fired what he claims were two "warning shots" following an altercation with other road users.

Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Frans Kapofi yesterday told New Era the case is in court and they can't find Valombola guilty themselves.

"In Namibian standards, you are innocent until found guilty. To us as the ministry we won't jeopardise that process of the law and we can't find the person guilty ourselves if he was not found guilty in the court of law, and until such time we treat the case as such," said Kapofi.

Asked if this meant that Valombola was back at work, Kapofi replied that Valombola was on leave.

"Well, I haven't seen him (Valombola) but I was informed that he has put in leave for now. And when his leave is done I don't see why he should not come to work because he gets paid," stated Kapofi.

However, a weekly newspaper last week stated Kapofi said the ministry was looking into the possibility of suspending Valombola following the incident. Kapofi was quoted as saying that although the incident had nothing to do with his duties, it is a very serious case and justice had to be served.

The court's decision to grant Valombola bail did not sit well with the family who staged a demonstration at the court prior to the bail verdict.

Speaking to New Era last week after the bail ruling, the deceased's younger brother Lameck Ndjaba emotionally stated they had hoped Valombola would be refused bail.

"You can tell all these people are disappointed. We feel injustice was done. We are going to bury our brother and this person (Valombola) is going to eat KFC at their house and celebrate. We will take a step forward, wherever this goes, we are going to follow it and we know in the end we will get justice for our brother because we know what they're saying is not making sense," he said.

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