Aupindi, partner lose in recusal case against Magistrate

12 Feb 2016 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 12 FEB (NAMPA) - An application by a former NWR managing director (MD) and his Italian business partner for the recusal of Windhoek Magistrate Helvi Kauna Shilemba from presiding over the continuation of their alleged corruption trial, has been dismissed.
Acting High Court Judge Kobus Miller dismissed the application for the recusal of the magistrate brought on by former Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) boss Tobie Aupindi and co-accused Antonio Di Savino here on Friday morning.
“It is sufficient to say that nothing was put before the court in argument to show that any grave injustice or failure of justice is likely to ensue if the criminal trial against the applicants (Aupindi and Di Savino) proceeds before the first respondent (Shilemba).
“It is thus justified to remit the matter back to the Windhoek Magistrate's Court for the criminal trial against the two applicants to be finalised before the same magistrate (Shilemba),” said Miller.
In addition, the two businessmen were ordered to foot the legal bills of the unsuccessful application.
The respondents in the failed application were Shilemba (first respondent); Senior Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselman (second respondent); Minister of Justice Dr Albert Kawana (third respondent); Chairperson of the Magistrate Commission (fourth respondent); Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa (fifth respondent); the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia (ACC-sixth respondent); ACC Director Paulus Noa (seventh respondent); Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Sebastian Ndeitunga (eight respondent); as well as Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala (ninth respondent).
In the matter, the two business personalities are charged with allegedly providing false information to an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officer. They made another appearance in the Magistrate's Court along Luderitz Street on 19 January this year before Magistrate Jarmaine Muchali, who remanded the corruption case to 20 July 2016 for continuation of trial.
In respect of the alleged corruption case, the two accused men had suffered a heavy blow on 24 February 2012 when the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court dismissed their application for discharge.
Prominent local defence lawyer, Advocate Richard, who initially represented Aupindi in the matter, and Louis Du Pisani for Di Savino brought an urgent application for the discharge of their clients shortly after Public Prosecutor Arrie Husselmann, who appeared for the prosecution during the hearing of the discharge application, closed the State’s case.
Orben Sibeya of the Sibeya & Partners represented Magistrate Shilemba.
Marius Boonzaier from the Office of the Government Attorneys represented the other eight respondents.
Metcalfe and Du Pisani wanted the court to discharge their clients on the grounds that thus far, there had been no prima-facie evidence presented before court to indicate that the two men were involved in corruption as the State claims.
Husselmann, however, asked the court to dismiss the discharge application, arguing that the two accused persons should be put on their defences and should testify before court.
Aupindi and his co-accused had already entered not guilty pleas at the start of their corruption trial on 06 February 2012.
It is alleged that Di Savino had allegedly paid N.dollars 50 000 for a swimming pool which was built at Aupindi’s home in return for tenders for the refurbishment of the parastatal’s resorts.
Aupindi and Di Savino are free on warnings.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Garth Joseph is now representing Aupindi following the withdrawal of Metcalfe from trial.