22 Feb 2019 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 22 FEB (NAMPA) The trial of 15 Namibians arrested in 2014 for allegedly possessing fake qualifications obtained from bogus colleges in Zimbabwe is scheduled to begin on 16 September this year.
This came to light after the accused made another appearance in the Windhoek Magistrates Court on Thursday, when presiding Magistrate Samunzala Linus Samunzala postponed the alleged fraud case to 16 September 2019 for plea and trial.
The postponement was made a final remand for the purposes of plea and trial because the case has already seen several postponements for similar reasons over the past few years.
Initially, 33 people were arrested in connection with the alleged fraud scandal, but only 15 accused will now stand trial after charges were withdrawn against the other 18 suspects on 29 September 2017 as the prosecution could not link them to the case.
Court documents availed to Nampa on Friday show that the date for plea and the start of the trial was decided upon as per an agreement reached by the prosecution and the accuseds defence lawyers in court on Thursday.
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 different public and private companies.
The 15 suspects are Regina Nelumbu, Saima Nakathila, Josephina Iita, Benedicta Stephanus, Elia Kaiko, David Shivinga, Monica Itengula, Paulus Ndara, Gregor Mbanze Sikerete, Samuel Samuel Sem, Nghaanekwa Linekela, Fillemon Jatileni, Martha Mwandjekange, Paulina Inane and Neliwa Miina Ndapewoshali.
The group was arrested in October 2014 at various locations in Windhoek on charges of forgery and fraud.
The suspects are free on bail ranging between N.dollars 1 000 and N.dollars 5 000.
Local defence lawyers Mbushandje Nhinda, Kadhila Amoomo, Joseph Garth, Trevor Brockerhoff, Milton Engelbrecht, Mbanga Siyomuinji and Miriam Kenaruzo are representing the accused.
Prosecutor Tatelo Cuthbert Lusepan is handling the States case.