Ruling on recusals scheduled for Wednesday

23 Jul 2013 06:10
WINDHOEK, 23 JUL (NAMPA) - The ruling on an application for the recusal of a magistrate and public prosecutor from the trial of former Namibia Wildlife Resorts' (NWR) Managing Director Tobie Aupindi and his co-accused Antonio di Savino, will be handed down on Wednesday.
At the resumption of the trial on 01 March this year, Richard Metcalfe and Louis du Pisani, the defence teams of Aupindi and Italian national Di Savino, lodged an urgent application, demanding that Magistrate Helvi Kauna Shilemba and Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselman recuse themselves from the case as they were allegedly 'unfair' to the defence's clients.
Windhoek Magistrate Shilemba is set to hand down her ruling in the matter on Wednesday after the case was postponed on that date to 24 July as per agreement reached by the accused persons' defence team and State Advocate Jack Eixab.
The defence team made the request for the recusal of the magistrate and the public prosecutor in April this year after private investigator Clarky McKay had made some shocking revelations that Husselman allegedly wanted to see Aupindi jailed.
The revelations came from affidavits taken from three witnesses, who were allegedly party to the plot.
According to the affidavits read in court by the private investigator, Husselman allegedly said he would like to see Aupindi go to jail, even for a short period like six months.
“With all due respect, these allegations are unfair to the accused persons, and someone must investigate them further,” the private investigator stated at the time.
The 36-year-old Aupindi and his co-accused Di Savino, whose age was not given, have already entered not guilty pleas at the start of their corruption trial in February 2012.
According to a summary of substantial facts contained in the charge-sheet, it is alleged that Di Savino paid for a N.dollars 50 000 swimming pool, which was installed at Aupindi's home in Hochland Park, in return for tenders for the refurbishment of the NWR's resorts.
The two men each pleaded not guilty to a number of charges under the Anti-Corruption Act of 2003, namely a main count of allegedly corruptly providing false information to an authorised officer, and a count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
They also pleaded not guilty to the alternative count on the main charge.
The duo entered their pleas as per Section 119 of Namibia's Criminal Procedures Act, and as per instructions from their respective defence lawyers.
Meanwhile, the accused persons suffered a heavy blow in February last year (2012) when Windhoek Magistrate Shilemba dismissed their application for discharge.
As a result of this, the two men are now put on their defence.
The unsuccessful applications for discharge were brought before court in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures' Act, the defence lawyers stated at the time.
They wanted the court to discharge their clients on the grounds that there had been no prima facie evidence presented before court at that stage of the trial to indicate that their clients were involved in the alleged corruption, as the State claimed.
Husselmann, however, asked the court to dismiss the discharge application, arguing that the accused should be put on their defences, and should testify in open court.
The former NWR chief left the parastatal at the end of December 2010, four months before his contract was due to expire.
Media reports at the time claimed that he received a 'golden handshake' of about N.dollars 4,5 million.
Aupindi and Di Savino are free on bail, and their bail was also extended until tomorrow.