Windhoek-The investigating officer in the murder-for-hire trial, currently underway in the Windhoek High Court, categorically denied that either he, or anyone of his team, had assaulted three of the accused who made admissions in confessions and warning statements after their arrest.
Detective Sergeant Malakia Nuule, in his testimony before Acting Judge Johanna Salionga, was steadfast in his resolve through a barrage of cross-examinations by defence counsels trying to break him down.
He stood to his evidence in chief in which he described the actions that led to the arrest of Annastancia Nalucha Lubinda, 34, and the subsequent arrest of the five men she admitted to hiring to kill her husband, Peter Riscoh Muleke, 36.
Nuule told the court that he was on standby duty on the night of March 31, 2015 when he received a call about a body that was found inside a car at Goreangab Dam at around 20h15. He then proceeded to the scene, but the body was lying on the ground a few metres from the car and surrounded by stones of various sizes, some of them bloodied.
After the body was identified, he traced the wife of the deceased, Annastancia Lubinda, and informed her of her husband’s demise, adding that at time he treated her as a victim.
During his investigations, however, Nuule said, he started to believe the widow was involved in the crime and began to treat her as a suspect.
According to Nuule, he decided to leave Lubinda at the radio room at Wanaheda Police Station while he went out to investigate, and warned her according to the judge’s rules.
When he returned the next morning at 8am, he formally arrested Lubinda and warned her again, but she informed him that she wanted to make a confession. When he asked her whether she needed a lawyer, she said, according to him: ‘I just want to get off what’s on my heart and say what I did.’
Milton Engelbrecht, the state-funded lawyer for Lubinda, tried every trick in the book to have the detective swerve from his path, but to no avail. He informed Nuule that his client denies that she ever told him she wanted to make a confession, but that he (Nuule), had promised her she would get bail and a lenient sentence if she did.
Engelbrecht also told the court that his client insists that she was beaten by police officers in Nuule’s investigating team and in his presence, and that she made the confession from what they told her to say, and out of fear of being beaten again.
After Engelbrecht was done, it was the turn of Trevor Brockerhoff, the legal aid lawyer of David Matali, the second accused.
He wanted to know from Nuule whether he had warned the accused of the right to keep quiet and apply for a legal aid lawyer if not able to afford a private one.
Nuule stuck to his guns saying that he had informed the accused persons he had arrested and questioned of all their legal rights.
With regard to accused 3, David Kondjara, the detective said that as soon as he approached Kondjara he started to talk – saying it was not he that killed the man, but ‘they had only used my phone’.
Nuule further denied the contention of Tuna Nhinda, the legal aid lawyer of Kondjara, that he (Nuule) took a big spoon and fed Kondjara what to say.
Mbanga Siyomunji, who appears for accused 4, Abuid Uazeua, flat-out told Nuule that the investigating team messed up massively with the matter and was now trying to find a way out by denying assaults and intimidation of the accused took place to get them to admit to crimes they did not commit.
Lubinda is accused of hiring Matali, 45, Kondjara, 32, Uazeua, Donald Hindjou and Oviritje artist Dollam Dollam Tjitjahuma, 27, to kill Muleke.
She alone is charged with murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, while her co-accused are charged with murder, among other charges.
The trial continues today and all accused are in custody.