13 Jul 2013 06:00
OSHAKATI, 13 JUL (NAMPA) - An Angolan traditional healer who faced multiple charges of rape in the High Court at Oshakati, was sentenced to 25 years? imprisonment on Friday.
The 66-year-old Bonifatius Mbwale on Friday made his final appearance in the court at Oshakati before Judge Christie Liebenberg, who initially sentenced him to a total of 40 years in prison.
Some two weeks ago, Liebenberg convicted Mbwale on seven counts of the 13 counts of rape he faced when members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Ohangwena Region arrested him in November 2011.
Liebenberg sentenced Mbwale to 10 years? imprisonment on the first count of rape, and five years? imprisonment on each of the remaining six rape counts.
However, Liebenberg resolved that the sentences on the second and third counts should run concurrently, as well as on counts five and six and eight and 11, respectively.
The court distinguished between count one and the rest of the counts because of the young age (16 years) of the complainant in count one.
On the other hand, Mbwale was ordered to serve the rest of the sentences concurrently after Liebenberg considered the period of two-and-a-half years he has already spent in custody, pending the finalisation of the case.
Mbwale was convicted for committing unlawful sexual acts with seven complainants as a result of him having made false representations to them by telling them that sexual intercourse was part of his traditional healing.
The Angolan-born traditional healer is said to have engaged several of his patients into sexual intercourse under the pretext of healing them at Omutakuwakaupa village in the Omusati Region and Onhuno village in the Ohangwena Region between 2009 until November 2011.
Defence lawyer Pieter Greyling of Jan Greyling and Associates at Oshakati a week ago called three witnesses, who were all Mbwale?s former customers, to testify in his favour before the court during his mitigation hearing.
All three witnesses described Mbwale as a ?very kind? person who provided genuine traditional healing to many members of the community at his clinics at Omutakuwakaupa village and at Onhuno village.
?He has healed so many people and those who have accused him and caused him to be convicted of rape, have done so just because they are jealous of him,? one of the three witnesses told the court at the time.
State Advocate Dominic Lisulo appeared for the State.