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April date set for trial on treason suspect Mwilima's stock theft case
January 15, 2007
April date set for trial on treason suspect Mwilima's stock theft case


A CASE in which stock theft charges dating back more than seven years are being levelled against two of the men being prosecuted in the main Caprivi high treason trial is now scheduled to go to trial in April.

Barring any further change in plans, former National Assembly member Geoffrey Mwilima (51), one of his 118 co-accused in the main Caprivi high treason trial, Gabriel Mwilima (44), and the latter's wife, Betty Mwilima (41), will go on trial on a count of stock theft and various alternative charges in the Katima Mulilo Regional Court from April 10 to 12.

This arrangement was confirmed between the prosecution and the trio's lawyer, Jorge Neves, last week, before the case of the three had to make a third appearance in the Katima Mulilo Regional Court on Friday.

The charges that Mwilima, Gabriel Mwilima and Betty Mwilima are facing date back more than seven years.

Early in 1999, it is alleged, the Agricultural Bank was granted a judgement against exiled former DTA leader Mishake Muyongo, who had left Namibia to Botswana with an allegedly armed group of close to 100 men during the last days of October the previous year.

Muyongo is alleged to have hatched plans to start an armed rebellion in the Caprivi Region, with the aim of seceding the region from Namibia.

Those alleged plans, and especially surprise armed attacks that alleged separatists allied to Muyongo's cause carried out at Katima Mulilo on August 2 1999, led to the arrest and still continuing prosecution of former MP Mwilima, former teacher Gabriel Mwilima, and another 117 co-accused who remain on trial in the High Court in the main Caprivi high treason trial.

Muyongo left not only an alleged secessionist organisation, but also unpaid debts behind in Namibia, which led to the Agribank judgement being granted against him.

On the authority of that judgement, the Deputy Sheriff for the Katima Mulilo district attached some 140 head of cattle that belonged to Muyongo in early January 1999.

By November that year, however, the Deputy Sheriff allegedly realised that the cattle had disappeared from the place where they were supposed to be kept.

By that time, both Geoffrey Mwilima, who is a cousin of Muyongo, and Gabriel Mwilima, who is Muyongo's son-in-law, had already been in Police custody for some three months - but they and Betty Mwilima, who is a daughter of Muyongo, were still blamed for the disappearance of the animals.

They are facing charges of stock theft, alternatively theft, and contravening the Agricultural Bank Act by obstructing or hindering the sale of property, or knowingly disposing of goods that are under judicial attachment in terms of the Act.

Defence lawyer Neves has already indicated that the three are denying all the charges.


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