11 January 2018

Namibia: Man Arrested for Pretending to Be Lawyer

A MAN was arrested in Windhoek yesterday for pretending to be a lawyer and trying to convince a gender-based violence victim to drop charges against 'his client'.

Several police officers at the Windhoek Police Station yesterday confirmed that Zimbabwean, Matipa Glen Matswetu (55) showed up at the station in the morning, and informed officers that he had brought his client to give his account after a case of assault and malicious damage to property was opened against him.

The police arrested the gender-based violence suspect, and asked Matswetu to produce proof that he was indeed representing him.

"When we asked him to produce proof that he is a lawyer, he gave us a lot of excuses. We later discovered that he did not have the papers to back up his claim," said one constable, who later arrested him too.

"We also told him that the police do not deal with lawyers and only the courts, whereupon he started insulting me and calling me names", the constable added.

The police, however, thanked Matswetu for bringing the suspect, but said they also had to arrest him for lying that he was a lawyer.

A case of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice, impersonating a lawyer, and crimen injuria was opened against Matswetu.

When The Namibian visited the station yesterday, the suspect was having a heated argument with a group of police officers and denying that he tried to impersonate a lawyer, stating that he was working for the Zimbabwean embassy instead.

"I never said I was a lawyer. I know the laws of this country. I did what I had to do, and brought you the suspect. I do not even know the man [suspect] that well," he said, adding that he was the one who convinced the suspect to hand himself over to the police.

One of the police officers rebutted his denial, and reminded him that he had indeed pretended to be a lawyer.

"You told me yourself that you were a lawyer when you came to the station with the suspect this morning," the policeman insisted.

Police officers said Matswetu was pretending to represent the suspect after a case of assault was opened against him by his girlfriend, who is also Zimbabwean.

The 32-year-old woman yesterday told The Namibian that she had opened a case this week against her former boyfriend after he assaulted her and shoved a bottle of Castle Light down her private parts on Christmas Day when she ended their relationship.

She added that the suspect came to her house in Windhoek West early this week, and demanded that she open the door for him. When she refused, he resorted to breaking her windows and kitchen equipment. "I then called the police, but he ran away," she said.

"The following day, he [ex-boyfriend], called me and begged me to drop the charges against him as he was willing to pay me for the damage, but I refused," she said.

She said later, a man named Matswetu called her, pretending to be her ex-boyfriend's lawyer, and demanded that she drop the charges against his client, saying that he wanted an out-of-court settlement between them.

"He told me to meet him and his client at a certain location so that they can pay me the money, but I told him I did not want to meet them. He then told me that his client was not afraid of the charges because he has friends within the police, and nothing would happen to him," she said.

Later, the woman said she received a call from the police station, informing her that her ex-boyfriend and his lawyer were at the station, and that she should go down there.

A senior police officer, who declined to be named, said this was not the first time they were coming across a case of a fake lawyer.

"Last year, we arrested two Unam law students who pretended to be legal practitioners as well. We want to warn the public out there that the police will not hesitate to arrest anyone for pulling such stunts," he stressed.

Police spokesperson chief inspector Kauna Shikwambi said she was not aware of the case, and will only find out today.

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