03 Mar 2016 19:40pm
KATIMA MULILO, 03 MAR (NAMPA) The Katima Mulilo Magistrates Court has found a taxi driver guilty on two counts of kidnapping.
The taxi driver, Sabiso Samulandela, 29, who is the first accused in a matter involving two other men, was found guilty by Magistrate Nomsa Sibanda on Thursday.
The two accused - Vasco Kabaolwa, 24, and Midricks Tubazube, 31 - both pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping of Mario Ndumba and Give Mata, who were allegedly locked up in the boot of the taxi driven by Samulandela on 17 October 2015.
During the same hearing the State, represented by George Matali, dropped the charges of robbery and human trafficking the trio faced.
In a statement read by Samulandelas legal counsel, Hope Ngara, the accused stated that he did not know that he was breaking the law when he locked up the two boys in the boot of the taxi.
It further reads that he locked up the boys because he wanted to punish and teach them a lesson as they had angered him by allegedly taking photographs of Samulandela and his friends while they were drinking in a park at night.
Samulandela, a single father of two minor children, said he did not intend to get involved in human trafficking when he drove the boys to the Katima Mulilo dump site.
The three were accused of kidnapping the boys after robbing them of their mobile phones when they approached the victims at a park in the town centre.
The boys were Grade 12 learners at the time. They claimed they had been taking photos of themselves in the park at night while on their way home from buying electricity tokens.
The men allegedly demanded that the boys give them their phones as they said they suspected they had taken photos of them while they were urinating in the park.
They then apparently forcefully grabbed the boys and demanded that they get into the boot of their taxi.
The boys were rescued by Namibian Police officers on patrol, who found the suspicious looking vehicle at the dump site and ordered the accused to explain what they had been doing in that area late at night.
Kabaolwa and Tubazube, through their legal representatives Leon Kabajani and Sunday Muhinda, told the court they are not guilty as they were mere passengers in the taxi. Tubazube further said he was not aware of the people locked up in the boot of the car he was in.
The hearing continues with Samulandela testifying in mitigation of sentencing, while Kabaolwa and Tubazube have been asked to stand down as their matter has now been separated from the main docket.