No prosecution against treason State witnesses: Hoff

11 Dec 2015 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 11 DEC (NAMPA) - No single person who gave evidence on behalf of the State in the just-ended marathon high treason trial of the failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region (now Zambezi) from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999, will face prosecution.
A total of 379 people gave evidence on behalf of the prosecution during the long-running trial, and 13 of the State witnesses were described or considered as 'hostile witnesses' by the court in respect of the testimonies they provided before court during trial.
All the 379 State witnesses, including the 13 who were described as 'hostile witnesses', were each granted indemnity against prosecution in a judgement handed down by High Court Judge Elton Hoff on Wednesday this week.
In addition, Judge Hoff also ordered that all the weapons of war and other related armaments used by the secessionists during the attacks on Government installations on 02 August 1999 be forfeited to the State.
A total of 122 accused persons were arraigned at the beginning of the trial when it kicked-off in 2004 and a total of 22 of the separatists died while awaiting the finalisation of the trial.
The trial took a total of 16 years to come to finality.
During sentencing on Tuesday, former Member of Parliament (MP), Geoffrey Mwilima was sent to jail for 18 years.
Mwilima and four other men who held leadership positions in the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) - a military wing of the United Democratic Party (UDP) – were each sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.
Mwilima served in Parliament on a DTA of Namibia ticket.
The four others are John Samboma, who was the commander of the CLA; Bennet Kacenze Mutuso; Alfred Tawana Matengu; and Teddeus Siyoka Ndala.
The men were punished by Judge Hoff after they were each earlier found guilty of high treason and other related charges.
Altogether, 30 men were convicted and sentenced on one charge of high treason, nine counts of murder and 91 counts of attempted murder.
Fifteen of the 30 soldiers of the CLA, who were directly involved in the secessionist attacks on Government installations in the then Caprivi Region on 02 August 1999, were each sent to jail for an effective 15 years.
The 15 CLA soldiers are Aggrey Kayaba Makendano; Moses Chick Kayoka; Charles Mafenyeho Mushakwa; John Panse Libulo; Albert Sakena Mangilazi; Adour Mutalife Chika; Postrick Mowa Mwinga; Chris Puisano Ntaba; Alfred Lupelazi Siyata; Charles Mainga; Richard Libano Misuha; Matheus Munali Pungula; Ndala Svious Tutalife; Kingsley Mwiya Musheba; and John Panse Libulo.
Nine convicted supporters of the separatists’ ideas of seceding the Caprivi Region from the rest Namibia were each sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
They are Mathews Muyandulwa Sasele; Victor Maseyi Matengu; Richard Mundia; Kester Kambunga; Fabian Simiyasa; Raphael Lifumbela; Martin Tabaundule; Rodwell Sihela Mwanabwe; and Osbert Mwenyi Likanyi.
This group also includes 74-year-old pensioner, Benhard Maungolo Jojo, who was sent to jail for an effective total of three years imprisonment due to his advanced age.
In addition, three other men who were found guilty of contravening the provisions of the Immigration Act (No.7 of 1993) by exiting the Namibian border to Botswana and later re-entering Namibia illegally were each sentenced to a wholly suspended sentence of six months imprisonment.
The trio - George Liseho, Oscar Puteho and George Kasanga - was thus set free following their suspended sentences.
State-sponsored defence lawyers Patrick Kauta; George Neves; Clive Kavendjii; Profysen Muluti; Ilse Agenbach; Jonathan Samukange; Victor Kachaka; and Percy McNally represented the jailed 30 men as well as the other three.
The jailed 30 men were separately charged with taking part in the attacks at Katima Mulilo, or providing support to the so-called CLA.
They took part in attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station; the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation's (NBC) regional office; Wenela Border Post; and Mpacha Military Base and Airport on 02 August 1999.
They were said to have been under the leadership of Mishake Muyongo.
Muyongo and other alleged leaders of the CLA fled to neighbouring Botswana before the attacks and after the Namibian security forces discovered their underground movement before enforcing tightened security measures in the Caprivi Region.
Muyongo and Mafwe Chief Boniface Mamili are now exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back home to stand trial.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Taswald July, being assisted by State Advocate Amize Adams represented the State.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyers all indicated on Wednesday they will lodge applications for leave to appeal both the convictions and sentences on behalf of their clients at the Windhoek Supreme Court in the next few weeks.