Ex-Magistrate denies corruption/fraud charges

10 Mar 2014 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 10 MAR (NAMPA) - A magistrate who is charged with multiple counts of corruption and fraud, on Monday denied the charges levelled against her.
Melanie Theron denied all 20 counts of corruption and fraud at the start of her trial which kicked off before High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo here on Monday morning.
Theron, who is now suspended from her position as magistrate, denied all the charges against her as per instruction of her defence lawyer, Advocate Richard Metcalfe.
She also submitted a statement in terms of Section 51 of the Namibian Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, in which she explained her pleas of not guilty to the charges levelled by the State against her.
Theron's alleged corruption and fraud case was today ordered to stand down until Tuesday morning at about 10h00 upon an agreement reached between prosecution representative, State Advocate Simba Nunda, and Metcalfe.
The postponement of the case was requested by Nunda in order for him to hold consultations with all 29 State witnesses before they give their evidence before court.
Theron was arrested in August 2011 on charges of corruption, bribery and extortion.
According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge sheet, the former magistrate is facing a total of 20 main charges and some alternative charges.
It is alleged that she had corruptly used her office or position for gratification, and has fraudulently concealed an offence which is also an offence under the Anti-Corruption Act.
Other charges are that she allegedly and corruptly solicited or accepted or agreed to accept a bribe, in the process defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
The offences that Theron is accused of are alleged to have been committed at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, where she was stationed between 26 May 2011 and 15 August 2011.
Theron is alleged to have accepted amounts of money, totalling N.dollars 6 600, from various people who were accused of traffic offences.
She allegedly used the aforesaid money for her personal benefit.
It is alleged that Theron had cancelled a number of warrants of arrest which had been issued against the accused traffic offenders, and that she in some instances recorded on court records that the cases against the people had been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after they had pleaded guilty, while they in fact had allegedly not appeared in court.
She is out on bail.