WINDHOEK – Judge Alfred Siboleka was asked by the State to find the accused guilty of having acted with a common purpose in the killing and robbery of Cornelius Jacobus Swiegers and his comet-watching party when it made its submissions.
Ethel Ndlovu, for the State, argued that there can be no doubt that, when the accused Max Kleopas (26), Festus Nepembe Kiimba (30) and Josef Taukondjo Shikongo (31) robbed and killed Windhoek resident, Cornelius Jacobus Swiegers, they acted in common purpose.
The victim was on a comet-watch outing in the city’s Goreangab Dam area in January 2007 with a friend, Georgivis Pierre Isaaks and his daughters, Raygene and Nicole Isaaks to view and photograph Comet McNaught when the attack occurred.
Ndlovu told Judge Siboleka that all the evidence presented and testimonies lead during the trial, plus the self-incriminating statements made by the accused could lead to no other verdict other than that of guilty as stated.
She said that all three accused corroborated what the State’s witnesses testified to and that the only way they could know these facts is if they were there physically.
Defence council Mese Tjituri, for accused 1, Max Kleopas argued that his client was not at the scene of the incident and as he testified, he does not know his co-accused.
He further contested that his client signed the admissions of guilt, calling the Court’s attention to the fact that three different signatures appeared on three different documents alleged to be signed by Kleopas.
He further argued that none of the witnesses could identify his client.
He further said that even the so-called buyers of the stolen property could not positively identify his client. He claimed that as Kleopas was in the South when the property was found he could not have been the one selling it. Tjituri told Judge Siboleka that his client did not even posses a cell-phone when the so-called calls were made to the State’s witnesses.
He concluded that Kleopas must be acquitted on all charges, as the State did not provide any basis on which he could be convicted of murder. On the charges of possession of a firearm without a license and of possession of ammunition the Court cannot find that he knew that accused 2 had a firearm even if it do find that he was present at the scene of the murder. He further contended that the State failed to prove common purpose.
The defence counsel argued that as accused 2 had the gun he had substantive influence over his co-accused. He further said that as the arresting officer, Ndikoma had a great deal of knowledge about the happenings of the case, he could have easily been part of “the syndicate that concocted the confession”, that the accused is disputing.
Winnie Christiaans for Festus Nepembe Kiimba (34), also told Judge Siboleka that his client denies all charges. According to Christiaans, his client was never confidently identified by any of the State’s witnesses. He said that even Deputy Commissioner Unendapo could not identify Kiimba at first, but that maybe after some tip-off suddenly was very sure that it was his client, which begs questions, according to Christiaans.
Christiaans did not mince any words, calling the State witnesses unreliable.
He too asked for his client’s acquittal.
Lucia Hamutenya for Josef Taukondjo Shikongo (35), told the Judge that the arresting officer Ndikoma did not even bother to present his credentials when he arrested her client. She maintained that Shikongo told his version of what happened that fateful night to various police officers, after he first told Elise Shikongo, where he resided, but none of them were willing to listen to him.
According to her , the fact that he told the story repeatedly and did not veered from the facts makes it very plausible.
According to her the fact that he was only asked to signed documents in the afternoon after his arrest speaks volumes. She concluded that the State’s case against her client is not watertight and merely based on circumstantial evidence.
Judge Siboleka adjourned the case to 28 September this year for judgement and all three accused remain in custody.