27 Jan 2016 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 27 JAN (NAMPA) - Keetmanshoop resident and convicted inmate Marius Thomas, who staged a dramatic escape from the Windhoek Correctional Facility at the end of November last year, is still on the run.
He was on 09 June 2015 found guilty in the High Court of serious crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as an alternative count of unlawful use of property (a motor vehicle) without the owner's permission.
He was found guilty in a judgement handed down by High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo on 09 June 2015 following the finalisation of his trial.
Thomas was scheduled to re-appear before the same judge (Ndauendapo) on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 for the start of the submissions of evidence in mitigation and aggravation of sentencing in the matter but that did not go as expected.
Marius Thomas is absent before court today. He is still at large after he escaped from the Windhoek Correctional Facility on 26 November last year. He is not yet rearrested, State Advocate Jack Eixeb informed presiding Judge Ndauendapo on Wednesday as he asked for a postponement of the case.
As per request by the prosecution representative (Eixab), the matter was then postponed to 23 March this year.
Thomas's government-appointed defence lawyer, Monty Karuaihe was also not present in court on Wednesday as he is reportedly busy sorting out issues regarding the Fidelity Fund Certificate or Licence of his law firm with the Law Society of Namibia.
In a media statement availed to Nampa in November 2015, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said Thomas had escaped along with two trial-awaiting prisoners. The senior spokesperson of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) issued a request for assistance from members of the public in tracing the three escapees.
According to Kanguatjivi, Thomas and two trial-awaiting prisoners, Mervin Raymond Hanse and Sindano Pieter Itana, escaped from the Windhoek Correctional Facility on 26 November, allegedly with the assistance of three members of NamPol's Very Important Person (VIP) Unit.
Itana faces a charge of theft, while Hanse was in police custody on a charge of murder.
NamPol Inspector-General, Sebastian Ndeitunga was at the time quoted in a New Era newspaper article that three police officers allegedly assisted the three to escape from the correctional facility.
Two of the suspected police officers have since been arrested - one was arrested in Windhoek's Central Business District, while the second one was apprehended at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region.
The newspaper reports further said the three police officers arrived at the Windhoek Correctional Facility at around 11h00 on 26 November asking that the three inmates be handed over to them to apparently be charged for new cases in Rundu, where the police officers claimed they were based.
As is standard practice, Thomas and the two trial-awaiting inmates were handed over to the police officers, and they left the facility.
It was, however, later discovered that the police officers were not investigating any case against the three and that they were not from Rundu as they claimed.
Fugitive Thomas was scheduled to re-appear in the High Court on Wednesday after he was convicted of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, alternatively unlawful use of property (the vehicle) in connection with events around the death of a fellow worker, Likius Ngesheya, 44.
Ngesheya was allegedly murdered at Farm Kaalvlakte in the Bethanie District between 25 and 26 February 2008.
In addition, Thomas was also convicted of having raped a woman at a farm close to Keetmanshoop, and robbing, kidnapping and indecently assaulting the same woman on 03 August 2009.
The escape of the trio occurred on the same day prison officers at the Windhoek Correctional Facility detained a 27-year-old woman with seven mobile phones and chargers that she tried to smuggle into the prison hidden in a suitcase.
Windhoek Correctional Facility Deputy Commissioner, General Tuhafeni Hangula said that when the three police officers appeared at the correctional facility, two of them were dressed in police uniform, while one was dressed in civilian clothing.
Hangula added that inmates attempt to escape from the facility during the festive season every year.
Members of the public have been asked to not attempt to apprehend the three escapees, as they may be violent and dangerous.