Namibia: former magistrate appears for fraud in regional court

A former magistrate alongside his co-defendants on criminal charges for allegedly fraudulently helping a South African family obtain Namibian citizenship, in exchange for money, has appeared in Windhoek Regional Court for the first time.

The former judicial officer Walter Mostert and the co-defendants Joyline Kambatuku, Eveline Meroro and Joram Salomo saw their case transferred to the regional court in Windhoek last month where they are to be tried.

During their appearance before magistrate Johannes Shuuveni, the defendants were informed that their case would be postponed until August 11 for the court to set a date for their hearing to begin. The court upheld an arrest warrant against Meroro who is currently hospitalized.

Mostert and his co-defendants are charged with counts under the Anti-Corruption Act and the Immigration Control Act, money laundering, extortion, fraud and attempting to defeat or to obstruct the course of justice.

The state alleges that the charges stem from a period between 2012 and 2013 when Mostert worked closely with his co-accused in helping a South African family illegally obtain Namibian identity documents. He allegedly provided the Ministry of the Interior with false documents attesting that members of this family and their parents were born in Usakos.

In 2013, Mostert extorted N $ 90,000 from a Kosie Pieterse when he informed him that his family member had been arrested for exceeding the time limit to stay in Namibia after the visa expired, according to the charge.

The prosecution further alleges that Mostert fraudulently obtained N $ 250,000 from Pieterse. He reportedly told Pieterse that the money would help him with his application for permanent residence in Namibia.

Mostert was arrested on May 1, after returning to Namibia from South Africa, where he had lived for four years. The Anti-Corruption Commission has been looking for him since September 2018.

The former judicial officer and his co-defendants are currently in police custody, Mostert being detained at Windhoek central prison while his co-defendants are in police custody.

Local lawyers Evert Gous, Tjingairi Kaurivi and Pierre Coetzee represent the group, Sirka Nangoro suing for the state.

Elna M. Lemons