Namibia: Judge Refuses to Budge... Declines Recusal Application By Murder Accused

Acting Windhoek High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka has dismissed an application to recuse himself from a murder case involving four men charged for allegedly murdering stock theft investigator Hiambepo 'Major' Kazeurua in 2012.

Kazeurua was a prominent member of the Aminuis community anti-stock theft unit. His charred remains were found buried in an aardvark burrow at Farm Brazil near Shaka in the Kalahari constituency. One of the accused in the matter, Stockley Kauejao (44), who is now without legal representation after his lawyer Slysken Makando withdrew from the case, wanted the judge to recuse himself because of alleged bias.

Judge Siboleka, however, declined saying that in his mind, he did everything according to the book. Kauejao brought the application much to the surprise of Makando and the legal representatives of his co-accused Matheu Kakururume (33), Muvare Kaporo (29) and Afas Kamutjemo (42). Advocate James Diedericks was supposed to handle the application, but he too withdrew at the last minute due to non-payment of his fees, leaving Kauejao to bring the application on his lonesome.

According to the indictment, the accused conspired to kill 'Major' Kazeurua to prevent him from tracing cattle they had stolen. Kaporo and Kakururume allegedly ambushed and killed him by strangling him and putting sand in his mouth to prevent him from breathing.

This allegedly happened on 28 December 2012. The matter has suffered several delays since its inception, including applications for bail by two of the accused still in custody and appeals after bail was refused. Siboleka also retired as a sitting judge of the High Court and is now an acting judge while he finalises his remaining cases. It is currently not clear whether Kauejao has succeeded in securing the services of another lawyer, but Siboleka made it clear in no uncertain terms that the matter will continue on 4 August whether Kauejao has legal representation or not. All of the accused pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, stock theft and defeating or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. They put the onus of proof on the State for each and every allegation against them. The partly burned body of Kazeurua was found in an aardvark burrow on 7 January 2013, after being reported missing days earlier. Mbanga Siyomunji is on record for Kakururume on instructions of legal aid and Jan Wessels represents Kamutjemo on private instruction. Kaporo is not represented since he lost the services of Monty Karuaihe. Kakururume and Kaporo remain in custody while Kauejao and Kamutjemo are out on bail.

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