Namibia: Ex-MP Disputes Guilt On Rape Charges

FORMER National Council member and Okahandja constituency regional councillor Steve Biko Booys yesterday told a magistrate he is denying accusations that he raped a young woman on two occasions in January.

Testifying on the second day of a bail hearing in the Okahandja Magistrate's Court, Booys (42) told magistrate Khaepriums Swartz he wants to be given a fair chance to prove his innocence and clear his name from the charges he has been facing for the past two months.

"I deny the accusations that are made against me," Booys said.

Booys has been in police custody since his arrest on 2 February.

The state is alleging that he raped a 20-year-old woman at his home at Okahandja on 16 January and also on 17 January this year. It is also alleged that the complainant was raped while she was affected by sleep or intoxicating liquor or a substance that mentally incapacitated her.

Booys told the court the complainant was at his house on the two days in question. He said there were drinks at his house, but denied that he provided alcohol to the woman.

He recounted that on 18 January he first heard from his mother and other family members a rumour was circulating that a criminal charge might be registered against him. According to Booys he did not contact the complainant after he heard about the rumour.

On 2 February, he went to the Okahandja Police Station with his previous lawyer to enquire about the rumour that had been making the rounds, and he was then arrested, he said.

Public prosecutor Bernadine Bertolini told Booys he was not being truthful when he said he did not make contact with the complainant.

The state has evidence in the form of cellphone records and copies of cellphone messages that show Booys repeatedly contacted the complainant from 18 January to 2 February, Bertolini said.

To this, Booys responded: "Let the state call the witness."

The prosecutor also told Booys that cellphone messages exchanged between him and his alleged victim showed the contact between them was specifically about the allegations of rape made against him.

"I do not have any comment," Booys answered on that statement.

The state also has evidence that after the alleged incidents Booys tried to persuade the complainant not to continue with charges against him and that he told her criminal charges would destroy him when the public and his enemies found out about it, Bertolini added.

Booys replied that he is willing to provide evidence during his trial of a medical condition of the complainant and what has led to "these malicious charges against me".

Bertolini further informed Booys that the state has a cellphone message which he sent to the complainant and in which he said he would get the morning-after pill for her, to prevent her from getting pregnant.

Booys also told the magistrate he has business interests - which he said includes a guest house at Otjiwarongo, a construction company and chicken farming - requiring his active involvement, which he is not able to provide while in custody.

He also needs to earn an income to continue to maintain his children, including two sons who were living with him before his arrest and a younger daughter living with his parents, he said.

Swapo member Booys served as regional councillor for the Okahandja constituency from 2009 to 2020 and also represented the Otjozondjupa region in the National Council from 2015 to 2020.

The bail hearing is scheduled to continue today.

Defence lawyer Vernon Lutibezi is representing Booys.

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