A 56-year-old pastor, Pedro Marcelino Mousongela, will spend Christmas behind bars after his bail application was postponed to January next year in the Ondangwa Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The bail hearing for Mousongela, who stands accused of human trafficking, rape and assault by threatening, was postponed to January 9 to 13, 2017.
The State prosecutor, who handled the bail hearing from the onset was ill on Tuesday, hence the bail hearing, which commenced towards the end of October, could not proceed as scheduled.
Prosecutor Ester Embanga informed Magistrate Jurina Hochobes that the State did not have sufficient time to arrange for another prosecutor to stand in for Prosecutor Dollien Gowases.
Gowases was expected to cross-examine the defence witness Ngoie-a-Ngoie.
The Angolan preacher of the Mennomite Church and owner of the Mennomite Brethren Community School faces charges of rape, abortion and human trafficking.
On Tuesday Ngoie-a-Ngoie, the acting principal at the school, while under cross-examination by the defence pleaded to the court to free Mousongela for the sake of the school, learners and teachers.
He said the school had lost focus because Mousongela instilled discipline at the school, mentored and encouraged teachers and learners at the school.
“We have lost focus without the visionary of the school. The school went down and is now chaotic,” said Ngoie-a-Ngoie.
He also reported that since the arrest of Mousongela on June 24, the school experienced a high dropout rate, while teachers took to the streets to demand their salaries after government withdrew the subsidy.
The acting principal said the subsidy has since been restored after they wrote to Ohangwena education directorate to assist the school.
Mousongela’s defence counsel on Tuesday handed to court exhibits of various letters of registration of the Menommite School from the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
Magistrate Hochobes put it to the defence that the documents had to be put on record but the documents were not certified and the date on one of the letters is not so clear.
The acting principal further told the court that the school was recently furnished with a letter from Ohangwena regional education directorate to operate as a centre for the junior secondary examinations.
The State at the start of the bail hearing in October argued that the Menommite School was registered with forged documents and further alleged the school had created a list of non-existent learners to benefit from the scheme and thus defraud government.
About 175 out of 696 learners at the school benefit from the scheme.