Pastor of the Mennonite Church, Pedro Marcelino Moussongela, was denied bail in the Ondangwa Magistrate’s Court on Friday where he appeared on charges of rape, abortion and human trafficking.
State prosecutor Dollien Gowases opposed bail, saying the suspect committed the offence while on bail on similar charges. Gowases further disclosed that the suspect faces a complex charge related to an alleged syndicate of trans-border human trafficking. Investigations were said to be ongoing.
In addition, the prosecutor opposed bail on the basis that the case is of interest not only to the public, but also human rights organisations and media houses.
The case was remanded to August 31 this year. The accused was informed that he has the right to apply for a formal bail hearing. Gowases lodged an application that the suspect be kept at a prison facility instead of the police holding cells.
According to Gowases, when the suspect was previously arrested he was found to be communicating with the use of a mobile device while in the police holding cells.
Magistrate Jurina Hochobes informed the 56-year-old Moussongela that arrangements will be made for him to be transferred to a prison facility.
“You will not be taken back to the police holding cells, you will rather be kept in a prison facility,” ruled Hochobes.
Moussongela was arrested on Thursday morning in front of schoolchildren at one of his schools, Mennonite Brethren School in Omafa, after a warrant of arrest was issued.
Moussongela is also said to have other schools in Ongenga and Ruacana.
According to well-placed sources, a doctor who is said to have supported and assisted Moussongela is also expected to appear in court. Earlier media reports indicated that Moussongela has trafficked five of his children, who are all under the age of 12, to London.
The children are said to have been placed in a safe house by the British police.
Apart from the charges of rape, abortion and human trafficking he faces in the Windhoek and Ondangwa magistrates’ courts, the Congolese national is further charged with assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
It is alleged that Moussongela kidnapped his daughter and assaulted the girl’s mother.