WINDHOEK – Six men accused of an armed robbery of N$700,000 on Tuesday walked away from the Katutura Magistrate’s Court as free men after the court provisionally struck their case from the roll.
Magistrate Michelle Kubersky refused to give a final remand in the matter on grounds the State has been dragging its feet to finalise its investigations.
Furthermore, it was claimed the complainant is now reluctant to cooperate with the investigating officer. “It seems the State has been sitting on this docket for another two months and they are only realising now that investigations are not yet finalised, despite informing the court on the previous occasion that the docket was summarised and sent to the prosecutor general,” said Kubersky.
According to the prosecutor Victoria Thompson, the docket was summarised but the investigator has to clarify some of the issues in the docket before it can be forwarded to the prosecutor general for a decision.
Thompson explained the investigator is having difficulties obtaining statements for receipts and due to the country’s financial crisis the forensic results were not yet obtained.
According to the defence team, the State is not treating the matter with the utmost seriousness and such delays have placed the accused in a position of not being able to pay legal fees.
The six suspects are Jafet Ekandjo, 40, Johannes Kambonde, 28, Nehale Gabriel, 31, Simeon Nangolo, 28, Laurentius Iipinge, 30 and Nghilivali Johannes, 28.
Making their mandatory appearance in court on bail, Ekandjo and his co-accused faced a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances for the gangster-style robbery which occurred outside the Pick n Pay shopping centre, Katutura in February last year. The group has pleaded not guilty to the charges despite evidence to the contrary.
According to police reports Ekandjo and his co-accused, using guns, ambushed Puma service station employees while they were on their way to the bank to make a deposit. It is alleged that they demanded the money that the employees were carrying.
During the robbery, Ekandjo and his co-accused, according to court documents, assaulted Genevieve Mireille before taking off with N$700,000 in cash. Police reports indicate that only N$80,000 has been recovered.
Having struck the case from the roll, Magistrate Kubersky informed the group that once the State has placed its house in order they would be resummoned. The court refunded N$52,000 that was deposited as bail money.