Katima Mulilo-Former prosecutor at the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court George Matali whose powers to prosecute were withdrawn by Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa in a letter dated 19 January 2018, has decided to approach the High Court for alleged unfair dismissal.
The letter seen by New Era reads, “In my capacity as the Prosecutor-General I hereby withdraw my delegation issued to you in terms of Article 88 (2) of the Namibian Constitution dated 24th September 2013 to conduct criminal prosecution on behalf of the State in any court in Namibia with effect of the 22nd day of January 2017 (sic).
“The reason for the withdrawal of the delegation is as a result of your insubordination and refusal to comply with my lawful instructions and directives that were issued to you in the best interest of the prosecution service of Namibia,” reads the letter from the P.G.
The letter further states that “as a consequence of such withdrawal of the delegation, you are therefore prohibited to deal in any manner with any docket (s) or prosecution related work and/or enter any prosecution office at any court in Namibia in any capacity as a public prosecutor.”
It is also stated that although his delegation to prosecute was withdrawn he was not dismissed as a public servant, and as such he had to report himself to the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice to be assigned other responsibilities, which he did, and he has now gone back to Katima Mulilo as a defence lawyer while he awaits the outcome of the case he lodged.
Matali argues he did nothing wrong to warrant a dismissal. He says the only thing he did was to question why he was demoted for no good reason. “I did not refuse to be transferred but I felt the actions of the prosecutor-general were arbitrary, nasty, personal and unconstitutional. I was not given a chance to be heard,” he said.
He told New Era that he received a letter dated 9 November 2017 informing him he has failed in his capacity as a control prosecutor as he “lacks the required grip to the basic and elementary aspect of your job requirements, more specifically in handling Regional Court matters”.
The letter further stated that it was for that reason that the prosecutor-general decided to re-deploy him to where his service is best needed. “I am hereby informing you that your transfer from Katima Mulilo Magistrate Court to Ondangwa Magistrate Court, with effect from the 15th of January 2018 has been recommended to the Permanent Secretary: Office of the Attorney General. You should report to the Control-Prosecutor, Ms D. Gowases on the 15th of January 2018.”
Matali says he wrote to the prosecutor-general informing her he was transferred to Katima Mulilo in the first place for personal reasons as his mother has a mental sickness and he is the only child able to take care of her. He added that he also told her that he would only agree to be transferred if he were to take up the same position he held of being a control prosecutor and prosecute in the Regional Court, not a district court.
According to him he performed to the best of his abilities as a control prosecutor and if there was any incompetence it was because the office was understaffed and is still is, and despite being a control prosecutor he also had to prosecute most of the time.
He added that at one time between April and May last year he worked alone as the other prosecutor was on maternity leave.
Matali argues it was during this time that advocates were sent to assess his work and gave negative reports about him. “If I underperformed it was due to lack of manpower – I informed her of this but she did nothing. At one point I worked alone for two months, you cannot even run a court alone. What did she do? She just used to send relief prosecutors to come and assist for a month and after a while another one again,” said Matali.
Matali says this demotion has had a negative impact on his personal life and he had to travel to Windhoek to see a psychologist and he was booked-off between 15 January to 12 February.
However, it was during this time that he was dismissed as according to the prosecutor-general he had refused to comply with her directives.
Approached for comment the Deputy Prosecutor-General Jackson Kuutondokwa declined to comment because the “matter is before court”.