By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Forty-seven-year old Emmanuel Kapumba Mununga was yesterday handed a severe sentence of an effective 20 years' imprisonment by the Windhoek High Court. Mununga, who was found guilty and convicted on 186 counts of fraud totalling N$5,4 million, did not get any portion of his sentence suspended and was also ordered to repay Sanlam Namibia the total amount he stole. Handing down the sentence, Acting Judge Christie Liebenberg said at one point he wanted to suspend a part of the sentence but decided against it because there were too many aggravating factors. Liebenberg said the crime Mununga committed was prevalent in the country and the courts have the duty to protect the interest of society. "I am convinced that the nature and magnitude of the crime and the interest of the society clearly outweigh the interest of the accused." The acting judge said citizens are tired of civil servants committing crimes to enrich themselves. "The crime is so rife and appears in the media on a daily basis that it is almost a norm, but the courts have a duty to maintain law and order." He said apart from the crime Mununga committed, he also caused a lot of agony to the persons that were co-accused with him in the matter. He said the other persons did not only go through the agony of being arrested and humiliated as suspects, but also incurred legal costs. The acting judge said Mununga in fact committed the crime in two ways - by committing the actual crime and betraying the trust of Sanlam and his former employer, the Ministry of Defence. "The financial losses you caused to Sanlam were so severe that it would cause a major setback in the day-to-day running of any business." He said Mununga's crime was premeditated, planned and repeated over a long period of time, and thus Mununga had enough time to reflect and to come to his senses. Liebenberg noted that Mununga through his lawyer Unanisa Hengari claimed that he used most of the money for the education of his children but he (Liebenberg) believed that Mununga and his employed wife could have afforded to pay for their children's education without him having to commit fraud. "You have little to show for all the millions you have taken and the money was not used for a needy purpose." He accused Mununga of being wasteful and said the purpose of his crime was driven by greed. Liebenberg also noted that the decision by Mununga to plead guilty should not necessarily be viewed as a show of remorse. "The court will acknowledge your guilty plea that spared the court all the proceedings which could have included calling more than 120 witnesses to the stand, but your plea could have been driven by the fact that the writing was on the wall." The judge further noted that the court does accept that Mununga is suffering from a terminal illness despite the fact that there was no medical evidence presented to court to prove that. "However, illness does not entitle a convicted criminal to escape a jail sentence." The judge acknowledged that the fact that Mununga is a first offender counts in his favour but was quick to remark that there is no law that prohibits a first offender to be sent to prison. In conclusion, Liebenberg said Mununga, given his medical condition and that he has been convicted of 186 counts of fraud, has little to offer to Sanlam in terms of compensation. "The prospect of future compensation depends on future employment but given your conviction there is little chance for employment." Hengari said he would appeal the sentence. Obed Sibiya represented the State.
2006-10-06 00:00:00 11 years ago