Lawyers call investigating officer incompetent

04 Jun 2014 11:20am
SWAKOPMUND, 04 JUN (NAMPA) – The legal representatives of three persons implicated in the N.dollars 180 000 Standard Bank fraud case at Walvis Bay say incompetent police investigating officers can cause clients to stay locked up for long periods.
South African citizen Chadleight David, 23; Stanley Tjiharo, 26; and suspended Standard Bank employee Monique Chandre Diergaardt, 21, stand accused of fraud.
Tjiharo and David were arrested in Swakopmund, and Diergaardt at Walvis Bay last month.
“An incompetent investigating officer can cause an accused person to unnecessarily remain in custody.
Therefore, the argument that my client should not be given bail because the investigating officer did not collect some statements does not hold water,” David’s lawyer Chris Mayumbelo submitted during a bail hearing in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The lawyers are pushing for their clients to be given bail after the State objected due to missing statements, further police investigations, a fear of escape and interference with State witnesses as well as the seriousness of the case, amongst other reasons.
Mayumbelo stated that his client said he will not abscond because he has a fiancee and a baby in Namibia, and that he considers the country as his home.
“Every investigating officer is confident that they have a strong case. However, this must be backed- up by evidence to convince the court that my client should not be given bail now.
He is not guilty until proven guilty, and not innocent until proven innocent,” Tjiharo’s lawyer Gilroy Kasper argued.
Kasper also said his client promised not to flee when if released, where he offered to pay N.dollars 3 000 as bail.
On her part, Lana Fouche for Diergaardt said her client suffers from asthma, and police at one point had to rush her to a doctor whilst she is in custody. Therefore, she should be released on bail.
“It is a disgrace for my client to remain in custody, pending police investigations. It is really a pity that she has to stay for longer,” Fouche charged.
In response, State Prosecutor Erastus Hatutale maintained that it is a risk for the court to grant bail at this moment as the accused persons might abscond - especially David - who is not a Namibian citizen.
“It is a risk to free him. A baby and a fiancee are not reasons enough to keep him from escaping, as he can easily take them with wherever he is going,” he said in reference to David.
Hatutale continued that the fear of the accused interfering with State witnesses in the matter once out on bail is still strong.
“Investigations can only be interfered with when they are not complete. Thus, we need time to make sure all investigations are completed. I submit to this court that the accused persons must remain in custody for now,” said the prosecutor.
Magistrate Ileni Velikoshi ruled that the investigating officer needs four more days to collect the pending statements before he can deliver the bail ruling.
“It is in the interest of justice that cases are properly investigated, and at this moment, the court fears that the accused persons might interfere with such investigations.
Therefore, they must be retained until next week Monday,” Velikoshi said.
David offered to pay N.dollars 10 000 bail, while Diergaardt offered more than N.dollars 3 000.
The Namibian Police previously reported that the fraud amounts to N.dollars 100 000, and all of it was recovered.
However, the latest information from court indicates that the fraud amounts to N.dollars 180 000, with only N.dollars 120 000 having been recovered.