The prosecutor general’s decision on how to proceed in the matter in which well-known fashion designer Hambeleleni ‘Hem’ Matsi faces fraud charges is still not yet available.
In March the matter was remanded to Tuesday, April 26, but when the matter was called up in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court it was still not ready to proceed.
This made Matsi’s lawyer Willem Visser angry. He said: “I request the matter to be struck until such time investigations are done and the prosecutor general has taken time to actually look at the docket.”
“It seems the prosecutor general (PG) is not doing her job,” Visser added.
Visser said it was the second time the matter was on the roll for the PG’s decision, after a Section 119 plea was rendered in October last year.
“It has been seven months. Previous appearance was in March and it was postponed for a month and a half to get a decision. I then required that this be made a final remand, but it was not made final. No reasons are given why the PGD (prosecutor general’s decision) is not available – I understand the investigating officer is on leave.”
“We have to wait months and months for the PG’s decision on simple matters. The accused is inconvenienced not only financially but also as far as time and work are concerned because she has to be here all the time,” complained Visser.
Matsi faces charges of fraud and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
Matsi allegedly connived with people to burn her car so that she could claim insurance money of N$75 000.
She was arrested in December 2014 and released on bail of N$5 000.
Matsi pleaded not guilty when she made her second appearance before court last October. Represented by Willem Visser, the charges were explained to her and she replied that she understood the charges: “I am pleading not guilty.”
Visser had then informed the court that they would not yet disclose the basis of their defence.
The prosecutor Ivann Tjizu responded to Visser that Tuesday was the second time the matter was on the roll for a PGD.
“Matters referred to the prosecutor general are not minor offences. PG takes decisions in matters from all over the country. Even the deputy PG who assists also has to appear in court, which is why it takes time. It was not a final remand, which is why we requested a final remand.”
In the end the matter was remanded to June 15.
Magistrate Ilge Rheent said that Matsi is facing a serious count of fraud involving an amount of N$75 000 as well as a count of obstructing the course of justice.
“As both parties have pointed out, this is only the second time the matter is on the roll for PGD and it was not made a final remand, hence I will grant a final remand in this matter in order to afford the PG to come to a decision.”
Matsi is a fashion designer and medical technologist. She owns a fashion label called Hemline. She started in fashion five years ago as a hobby, but it soon grew into a viable business.
At the time of her arrest in December 2014, it was reported that a second suspect would be arrested but to date it is not clear whether anyone else has been arrested in connection with the fraud case.