10 Sep 2018 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 10 SEP (NAMPA) - The trial of 15 Namibians arrested in 2014 for allegedly possessing fake qualifications from bogus colleges in Zimbabwe, which was scheduled to begin on Monday, has been delayed until mid-October.
The fraud trial was set to start before Windhoek Magistrate Samunzala Linus Samunzala, but could not proceed because some of the 15 accused are still without legal representation.
The matter was postponed to 19 October 2018 to allow those without lawyers to apply to the Justice Ministrys Directorate of Legal Aid for State-funded defence lawyers to represent them during future court proceedings and when the trial proper begins.
Thirty-three people were initially arrested in connection with the matter, but only 15 accused will now stand trial after charges were withdrawn against the other 18 suspects in September last year when the prosecution could not link them to the fraud case.
The 15 accused now facing trial are Regina Nelumbu, Saima Nakathila, Josephina Iita, Benedicta Stephanus, Elia Kaiko, Davinga Shivinga, Monica Itengula, Paulus Ndara, Gregor Mbanze Sikerete, Samuel Samuel Sem, Nghaanekwa Linekela, Fillemon Jatileni, Martha Mwandjekange, Paulina Inane and Neliwa Miina Ndapewoshali.
Some of the accused allegedly used the fake qualifications to gain admission to several Namibian institutions of higher learning over the past few years, while some have been employed by various companies.
They were arrested in October 2014 at various locations in Windhoek on charges of forgery and fraud. The suspects are all free on bail ranging between N.dollars 1 000 and N.dollars 5 000.
Local defence lawyers Mbushandje Ntinda, Kadhila Amoomo, Africa Jantjies, Tuna Nhinda, Milton Engelbrecht and Miriam Kenaruzo are representing the accused.
Public Prosecutor Tatelo Cuthbert Lusepani handled the States case on Monday.