Windhoek — One of the accused in the murder for hire trial before the Windhoek High Court died on Tuesday night at the Windhoek Correctional Services facility for trial awaiting inmates.
David Matali was accused together with Anastancia Lubinda, David Kondjara and Abed Uazeua, Donald Hindjou and Oviritje artist Dollam Tjitjahuma, 27, for the murder of Lubinda's husband Peter Riscoh Muleke, 36.
According to unconfirmed reports, Matali collapsed during the evening and attempts by the other inmates to alert the wardens fell on deaf ears and he was discovered dead when the cells were opened in the morning.
Efforts to get comments from the prison authorities failed as Commissioner Eveline January was out of the office and her stand-in Commissioner Sam Shaalulange's cellphone was unreachable.
Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi of the Public Relations Division of the Namibian Police could neither confirm nor deny the incident but said the police will investigate the matter. Matali was on trial for allegedly conspiring with Lubinda to hire their co-accused to kill Muleke for a fee of N$5 000.
All the accused pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial.
Lubinda made a confession to Magistrate Rina Horn in which she admitted that she asked Matali to hire hitmen to kill Muleke.
They have unsuccessfully tried to have the confessions ruled inadmissible and has even went to the extent of asking the presiding judge, Johanna Salionga, to recuse herself from the trial for alleged bias. Acting Judge Salionga refused the application.
In a confession made by Lubinda, she said she was a victim of domestic abuse with regular beatings and a near-fatal stabbing. This caused her to look for a way out, she said in her statement. According to her, Matali was the one that influenced her to have her husband killed and he told her about a person who can supply her with poison, but when this did not materialize, he gave her a cell number of people who kill for money.
She then contacted the hitmen whose initial price was N$7 000, Lubinda stated, but was lowered to N$5000 when she told them she cannot afford the higher price.
Kondjara and Hindjou also made statements to a magistrate in which they claim that while they were present at the crime scene, they did not partake in the killing. According to them, it was Uazeua and Dollam Dollam who killed the deceased with the help of Matali.
According to them, Lubinda was also present and was telling the men to make it quick. Lubinda said in her statement she asked her late husband to take her to Goreangab Dam on that fateful day to collect money from someone while knowing full well hitmen were waiting for them there. The lifeless body of Muleke was found near Penduka at the Goreangab Dam on March 30 last year.