Application for Damaseb's recusal dismissed

21 Nov 2013 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 21 NOV (NAMPA) - An application by former magistrate Peter Kavaongelwa for the recusal of High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb from hearing a N.dollars 100 000 lawsuit against him, has been dismissed.
The lawsuit was instituted by the Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga.
Kavaongelwa's application for the recusal of the judge-president from the hearing was dismissed in a judgement handed down by Damaseb himself in the High Court here on Thursday morning.
This civil case has now been remanded until Tuesday next week for a pre-trial conference of case management to be held before judge Harald Geier, during which the parties involved in the matter will come together and decide on how to proceed with the case.
Prominent Windhoek-based lawyer, Advocate Andrew Corbett represented Ndeitunga, while Titus Mbaeva appeared for the former magistrate.
Earlier reports carried by the English daily 'Namibian Sun' newspaper had it that the initial amount of the lawsuit against Kavaongelwa was N.dollars 1 million, but was later reduced to N.dollars 100 000.
The newspaper reports indicated that the lawsuit drama has so far included claims in court papers about Ndeitunga's background, including allegations that he is an Angolan citizen, who had acquired Namibian citizenship under false pretences.
In July this year, Kavaongelwa brought an application before court to ask for Damaseb’s recusal from the hearing of the lawsuit on the basis that they (Kavaongelwa and Damaseb) are allegedly old friends.
As proof of his old friendship with Damaseb, Kavaongelwa attached photographs of himself and Damaseb allegedly partying together in Moscow, Russia, during their days in exile.
The reports further said that it was at this point that Kavaongelwa asked that Damaseb must recuse himself, because they were friends from the time of Namibia's liberation struggle.
The case allegedly stems from a phone call Ndeitunga received from Kavaongelwa in January 2006, who at that stage was still a presiding magistrate, requesting him to consider withdrawing fraud charges against Ondangwa-based lawyer Arumugam Thambapilai.
Thambapilai had been arrested about a month before the alleged phone call on charges of fraud for allegedly lodging fraudulent claims with the Motor-Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund on behalf of his clients.
Ndeitunga said he reported Kavaongelwa's phone call to Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa a few days later, asking her to ensure that Thambapilai's case would not land in front of Kavaongelwa.
The former magistrate initially sued Ndeitunga, who later turned the tables on him and instituted his own defamation action.