Namibia: Woman to Get Pimping Charges Verdict in July

A woman accused of having provided a schoolgirl from northern Namibia as an unwilling sexual partner to two men in the Okahandja district during 2012, is due to hear the verdict in her trial on charges of rape and trafficking in persons at the end of July.

In closing oral arguments heard by judge Naomi Shivute in the Windhoek High Court yesterday, state advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura asked the judge to find Tuufilwa Jonas guilty on all of the eight charges on which she has been standing trial since June last year. Jonas' defence lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, suggested the contrary, arguing that the state failed to prove its case against Jonas beyond reasonable doubt, and suggesting that she should be found not guilty on all charges.

Judge Shivute scheduled the delivery of her judgement in the trial for 31 July.

Jonas (34) is charged with four counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, and three charges of trafficking in persons, with all of the charges based on allegations that she was involved in a scam that landed a schoolgirl from northern Namibia on Okahandja district farms, where she was forced into becoming a sexual partner to two men.

Jonas has denied guilt on all of the charges.

The state is alleging that Jonas approached the schoolgirl at a village in northern Namibia in April 2012, and advised her to leave school so that she could take up a job which Jonas said was available at Okahandja. In fact, though, Jonas had agreed with a man living on an Okahandja area farm that she would procure a girl for him - which the girl found out only the next month, after she had arrived at Okahandja, and Jonas told her that she had to go live with the man who had paid for her transport from the north, the state is charging.

Having arrived at the farm where the man was staying, the girl was allegedly forced to have sexual intercourse with him on several occasions.

The state is also alleging that Jonas fetched the girl from the farm two months later, and instructed her to take up lodging with another man - which she refused to do.

Following that refusal, Jonas instructed the girl to go stay with a third man. Having been chased out of Jonas' house, the girl went to stay with the third man, and was again raped on several occasions, the prosecution is alleging.

Jonas was arrested in November 2015.

Shikerete-Vendura argued that, although the girl who was alleged to have been trafficked and raped was a single witness in respect of the experience she claimed to have gone through, she was truthful and reliable when she testified and withstood the cross-examination of Jonas' defence lawyer.

Shikerete-Vendura also reminded the judge that according to the evidence she heard, Jonas approached four young women in northern Namibia, trying to recruit them to be trafficked to Okahandja to become the partners of men there.

In response to the charges, Jonas "merely gave a bare denial", claiming the witnesses who implicated her were her enemies who came together to concoct a story against her, and that they also practised witchcraft, Shikerete-Vendura said.

She argued that the court was faced with two mutually destructive versions, and that it should choose to accept the prosecution's version, which was that Jonas recruited the girl in question by using deceitful means for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Engelbrecht argued that the complainant had several opportunities - including repeated visits to a health facility where she went for contraception - to run away from the first man with whom she was staying in the Okahandja district, but she failed to do that. He also remarked it was common sense that someone who was being abused and sexually assaulted would have made use of an opportunity to get away from such abuse.

The complainant knew when she travelled from northern Namibia to Okahandja that she was going to become the girlfriend of the man with whom she was going to stay, Engelbrecht argued.

Jonas is being kept in police custody while awaiting the verdict in her trial.

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