WINDHOEK – Magistrate John Sindano last Friday issued a fine of N$6 000 on Egyptian national Elsaid Tharwat Elsaid Hikal, 29, for faking a business visa.
Alternatively, Hikal could spend 15 months in jail in default of payment.
Hikal was arrested on October 06 and he faced a charge under the Immigration Control Act after he was found in possession of forged or falsified documents, court documents indicated.
He was due to plea to the charge on Tuesday, but instead pleaded guilty to the charge on Friday.
He informed the court he was married, with two sons both of them minors, and that his wife was not employed. Hikal further said he had two brothers, unemployed, and that he was taking care of his unemployed parents.
During sentencing, Magistrate Sindano said the offence for which Hikal has been convicted involves mala fide – bad faith – and the deliberate intention to deceive lawful authorities in Egypt and Namibia.
“The fact that a forged Namibian business visa was used has a further potential of tainting the image of Namibia,” the magistrate noted.
Florian Beukes, defence lawyer for Hikal, read a statement in mitigation of the sentence to be imposed on Hikal. He said Hikal came to Namibia during the time that Egypt was politically unstable.
“It is on that basis that Hikal came to search for a better life, and since arriving in Namibia although struggling has been sending money home on a monthly basis,” the statement said.
The defence lawyer further informed the court that Hikal will suffer immensely if sent to prison.
He also suffers from diabetes and needs insulin injections and that his medical condition has deteriorated of late because of the detention.
Beukes further argued Hikal was a first offender, and “should be kept out of prison”.
He added that the Immigration Act provides upon conviction a fine or imprisonment not exceeding N$20 000 or five years in prison.
Prison is only necessary if the offender has to be removed from society. The interest of society is not prejudiced, Beukes further argued for his client.
He noted Hikal’s conduct did not affect any other individual in Namibia. The defence lawyer further stated his client was sorry and regretted his actions.
Prosecutor Verinao Kamahene argued the offence involves dishonesty, and is a transnational offence, because of the endorsement of a forgedvisa affixed to an Egyptian passport.
“It puts the name of Egypt in disrepute. The personal circumstances, health, all that existed at the time of the offence. It was incumbent on Hikal to avoid the offence,” Kamahene said.
Kamahene continued that Hikal knew where the offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs are and that he instead “chose to forge a business visa”.
He recommended a fine of N$10 000 or in default of payment, 36 months in prison.