WINDHOEK – A 29-year old Zimbabwean woman was yesterday fined an amount of N$9 000 or in default 12 months in jail for staying in Namibia unlawfully for a period of one year and 11 months by Magistrate Justine Asino in the Windhoek Magistrate Court.
Lanah Banguri who has been staying in Pullman Street, Windhoek North was arrested on August 01 by members of Immigration Control on a charge of contravening the Immigration Control Act – remaining in Namibia after expiration of visitor’s entry permit. She arrived in Namibia on July 26, 2014 on a permit that was only valid until August 28, 2014.
Banguri pleaded guilty to the charge and informed Asino that she has no reason for remaining in Namibia after the expiry of her permit through her legal representative, F Hamukwaya who read a plea explanation into the record after Public Prosecutor Ntelamo Mabuku read the charges to her.
In mitigation of sentence Banguri said she has a five-year old daughter that was born in Namibia while she studied here at the then Polytechnic of Namibia. According to her she met the girl’s father at the Polytechnic and fell pregnant. After she graduated she returned to Zimbabwe leaving her daughter behind. Hamukwaya informed the court from the bar that Banguri is a first offender both in her home country and Namibia and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity thereby not wasting the court’s time.
He said she is still young at 29 and is an educated person who posed no threat or danger to society during the time she lived in Namibia illegally. He further said Banguri is remorseful for her actions and has undertaken to never repeat it again. He asked for a fine of N$2 000 or six months imprisonment and said Banguri will be able to raise that amount with the help of well-wishers.
While it is correct that Banguri is a first offender and pleaded guilty, not wasting the court’s time, the offence she committed is a serious one and very prevalent in Namibia, Mabuku told the court. This is evident, she said, from the number of cases of a similar nature the courts have to deal with which is ever increasing. She further said Banguri did not advance any reasons for her overstay and also did not make any arrangements to remain in the country regally. Namibia is a sovereign country and its laws must be obeyed by everyone, Namibian citizens and foreigners alike, Mabuku told the court.
Asino agreed with Mabuku and added that offences in terms of the Immigration Act is being dealt with by the courts on a weekly if not daily basis is testimony to the increase of such offences. Deterrent sentences need to be imposed, not only to punish the offender, but to deter other would-be offenders. She said it is aggravating that Banguri was only supposed to stay for one month and two days, but remained unlawful for a further one year and eleven months. According to Asino Banguri did not take the court into its confidence as to why she overstayed nor provided any indication whether she at all wanted to return to her home country.