Namibia: Corruption Accused Cop Fears He Will Die in Custody

JAFET Simon (48), a detective warrant officer who is accused of corruption, says if he does not get bail, his health could deteriorate quickly, which could be fatal.

The formal bail application of Simon, who is the now suspended unit commander of the crime investigations department at the Walvis Bay Police Station, continued in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court last week.

He is represented by legal aid attorney Albert Titus.

Simon and Pakistani-national Farhan Khatri (31), a senior manager at the used car importer Jan Japan at Walvis Bay, are accused of bribing a Swakopmund prosecutor with N$60 000 to get a human trafficking and rape matter in which Khatri is involved, removed from the court roll, and help Khatri get back his Pakistani passport, which he surrendered to the court as a bail condition on that matter.

They were arrested last September and have been in custody since. The matter was forwarded to the prosecutor general to decide on the way forward. It is likely it will be transferred to the regional court.

Simon denies any wrong-doing, and pleaded with the court that he be released on bail; not just because he is innocent, according to him, but also because his health depends on it.

He told magistrate Conchita Olivier that he is in desperate need of expensive antiretroviral drugs, which he has been dependent on for the past 13 years. If he does not get them, his health could deteriorate quickly, and he could die.

He argued that state facilities do not have the specific course which costs about N$3 500 a month. It is a course prescribed by his doctor, and only found at private pharmacies, which he could have claimed from his medical aid.

He said he received a letter from his employer earlier this year that he had been suspended, and with that went his benefits - salary and medical aid. The letter apparently added that if he does get bail, he must report back for duty, and from then earn his remuneration again.

This is the only way he will be able to afford his medication. He said the last doses he bought, he used from the bail money, and is afraid for his health as there are no funds left.

Senior Anti-Corruption Commission investigator Frieda Kanyama, who is investigating Simon and Khatris case, was called as the state's chief witness during the bail application.

According to her, Simon is on bail on a pending rape case stemming from 2018 at Eenhana.

She told the court, Simon had allegedly contacted a Swakopmund regional prosecutor in 2020 to ask the prosecutor to remove Khatri's rape case from the roll, and to get Khatri's passport returned to him. The prosecutor would be rewarded with N$60 000 in cash in two installments of N$30 000 as a deposit, and another N$30 000 on receipt of the passport.

The prosecutor informed the ACC of the offer and a trap was set up.

Kanyama said investigations found that the original docket on Khatri's rape case had disappeared, while an alleged fraudulently signed statement from the complainant in that case indicating she wanted to withdraw the charges against Khatri, was found on Simon's phone.

Titus argued that Kanyama could not prove that Simon was responsible for the disappearance of the docket, or the drafting of the statement. Kanyama responded that she was merely referring to the findings from the investigation.

Simon was arrested in the office of the prosecutor at the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court after he had received the passport and was paid the rest of the money - minus about N$3 000, which he apparently claimed was his cut. Khatri was arrested the following day at Walvis Bay.

Asked by state prosecutor Beate Mwiya why Simon should not get bail, Kanyama said it was a very serious matter that a senior police officer tried to bribe a court official to commit corruption, which was not in the interest of justice.

She further said a recording between the parties revealed that Khatri told the prosecutor during a meeting that when he would go to Pakistan, he would not go alone but take "tate Simon" with him, which highlighted the fear of possible flight by Simon.

The hearing was postponed to Wednesday 9 June for final arguments.

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