Windhoek-One of the defence counsels in the murder trial of three City Police officers who are accused of beating a 17-year-old arrested suspect to death suggested there was a cover-up and that Namibian Police (NamPol) officers were responsible for the murder.
Willem Visser, who acts for Kleopas Shiikalepo Kapalanga, 29, the second accused, all but told the NamPol officer, who was on duty the night the teenager was brought to the Windhoek Police Station to be locked up, that it was indeed the case.
The officer, Sergeant Isak Fidel Nashilongo, testified he was on duty as a cell guard that night when at between 22h00 and 23h00 he saw two men he could not recognise with a boy, whose arms were around their shoulders, come into the entrance to the holding cells.
He further told the court that at some stage he observed the victim just lying on the floor. “I continued with my duties until about 40 minutes later when I was called by Erastus and told to accompany Onesmus to the Katutura hospital with the boy,” he told Judge Dinah Usiku.
The “40 minutes” was what had Visser’s blood boiling. According to him the victim walked into the holding cells in good health and got hurt during the “40 minutes”.
“I put it to you that you are giving false evidence to cover up for the conduct of your colleagues because there are serious suspicions that the deceased was attacked while he was in your cells,” Visser said, adding: “You are covering for yourself and your colleagues because 40 minutes lapsed before the deceased was taken to hospital and your failure to assist the deceased during those 40 minutes cast a strong suspicion on you and your colleagues for the assault.”
Kapalanga, Johannes Shetekela Werner, 31, and Elia Nakale, 34, are charged with the murder of Mandela Ramakhutla.
They are charged with kidnapping Ramakhutla and continuously assaulting the 17-year-old while driving around with him handcuffed, thereby causing his death eight days later in the Katutura hospital.
The kidnapping was the result of their suspecting Ramakhutla of being involved in the theft of laptops and cellphones at the City Police head office and their subsequent investigation, it is stated in the indictment the accused face.
They face charges of murder, kidnapping and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
All three pleaded not guilty to all charges at the start of their trial.
It is alleged they killed Ramakhutla by assaulting him all over his head and body, handcuffing him and letting him fall down, or threw him onto the ground, causing him to die in Katutura hospital on April 24, 2013 as a result of his injuries.
Police officers who received Ramakhutla in their care, after the three accused asked them to lock him up for theft, testified the accused told them he was drunk and faking injuries when they questioned them about his condition.
Various other witnesses testified they saw the 17-year-old victim handcuffed and in a bad condition in the company of the three City Police officers accused of murder.
Boris Isaacks represents Werner and Kadhila Amoomo appears for Nakale, all on private instructions through the City of Windhoek.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi prosecutes and the case will continue on August 7.