News and Information
Two Caprivi Indunas held over treason trial U-turns
|August 2, 2006
| Two Caprivi Indunas held over treason trial U-turns
TWO traditional leaders from the Caprivi Region who were supposed to testify as State witnesses in the main Caprivi high treason trial have been arrested and charged with attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice after they disavowed sworn witness statements that they had made to the Police.
Gabriel Matengu Sakutiya and Harrison Muleta Kwala are set to appear in the Windhoek Regional Court today.
They made separate first appearances in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court late last week and on Monday this week, when their case was transferred to the Windhoek Regional Court.
They are both headmen in the Caprivi Region's Masida area, some 70 kilometres southwest of Katima Mulilo.
According to instructions from the Office of the Prosecutor General, the duo will both be prosecuted on a charge of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
Sakutiya will also face two alternative charges under that main count.
The alternative charges are a count of perjury, or one of making conflicting statements under oath.
According to the indictment that the Office of the Prosecutor General has drawn up against the two headmen, it is alleged that Kwala and Sakutiya on September 17 and 18 2003 each provided a member of the Namibian Police, Detective Sergeant Kavenauue Kombungu, with a witness statement.
These statements, it is alleged, voluntarily set out what each of the headmen knew about alleged crimes of high treason and other charges being dealt with in the high treason trial before Judge Elton Hoff.
Both also implicated several people in the alleged crimes, it is claimed in the indictment.
Sakutiya appeared in the High Court before Judge Hoff as a State witness in the treason trial on March 29 this year, it is stated in the indictment.
Kwala had been interviewed during March to give evidence as a witness in the trial.
They were both supposed to give evidence in accordance with the witness statements that they had given to Kombungu, it is further claimed.
However - and this is where they allegedly made themselves guilty of an attempt to defeat or obstruct the course of justice - both refused to give evidence in accordance with the previous witness statement, stated that they did not provide the statement freely and voluntarily, and stated that they did not know anything about the contents of the witness statement, it is alleged in the indictment.
It is further alleged that they stated that they were forced by members of the Namibian Police to make the allegations that were in their witness statements, and also that they were forced to sign those statements.
By also stating that in his evidence in court, it is alleged, Sakutiya committed perjury.
In the second alternative charge against Sakutiya, the indictment fleshes out what statements in his original sworn witness statement Sakutiya is alleged to have denied when he testified under oath in court.
In the witness statement, Sakutiya allegedly said he had agreed in 2001 to support the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA).
He allegedly also said he obtained traditional medicine from a witchdoctor, with the aim of providing this to members of the CLA as they believed it would protect them or make them invisible to Namibian security forces.
Sakutiya took this medicine and food to a base of members of the CLA in the Kalumba area about 15 km south of Katima Mulilo, he allegedly stated.
There were eight CLA members at that base, Sakutiya is also claimed to have said in the now repudiated statement.
He is also claimed to have said that he later helped to get medical attention, food, and N$200, for one of the CLA members at the base, Frederick Ntambilwa - who happens to be one of the 12 men accused in the second Caprivi high treason trial.
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