20 Jan 2014 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JAN (NAMPA) Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Tuhafeni Hangula who is facing fraud charges over the authenticity of his school-leaving certificate, has on Monday denied the alleged fraud charges.
Hangula denied such allegations when he entered a plea of not guilty to the charges at the start of his trial in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court along Luderitz Street here on Monday morning as per instructions of his locally-based defence lawyer Sisa Namandje.
He appeared before presiding Windhoek Magistrate John Sindano, and pleaded not guilty to six counts of fraud, forgery, uttering, including a count of carrying suspected stolen goods.
According to earlier media reports, Hangula had testified about this issue in the High Court in Windhoek in October 2012 during a trial on a defamation claim that he had instituted against weekly newspaper 'Informante' about an article which did not deal with his school qualifications.
Hangula won the above-mentioned defamation case against the weekly publication 'Informante' and its editor Nghidipo Nangolo in connection with a story in which it was claimed that he had helped an alleged fraud suspect to flee from Namibia while that suspect was free on bail.
High Court Judge Dave Smuts cleared Hangula of any wrongdoing when he delivered a ruling on the matter on 27 November 2013.
Meanwhile, documents that were placed before the court in that defamation case indicated that the correctness of Hangula's Standard 10 certificate was confirmed in a letter which was signed by an official in the then-Ministry of Education and Culture in April 1995.
However, in a letter which the Ministry of Education's Director of National Examinations and Assessment, Charles Nyambe had written to the Office of the Ombudsman in March 2011, it was stated that it was established with a subsequent investigation of records in the Education Ministry that Hangula's school-leaving certificate was not genuine.
Hangula had also himself testified during the hearing of his defamation claim that he was employed in the public service before Namibia attained independence on the basis of the Standard Eight (Grade 10) qualification, which he had at that time.
However, Hangula has continued to improve his academic qualifications in spite of questions about the validity of his school certificate over the past few years.
He graduated from the Polytechnic of Namibia with a Bachelor of Criminal Justice (Correctional Management) degree in 2012.
Hangula has been investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for the past 10 years in connection with this alleged fraud case.
He is currently on suspension with full pay, pending the outcome of the case.
Hangula is free on bail of N.dollars 2 000, which was on Monday also extended until Tuesday for the continuation of trial.