The matter in which retired major general Thomas Ngilifavali Hamunyela is suing the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security for unlawful arrest has entered an interesting twist.
While Hamunyela is claiming N$150 000 for unlawful arrest, N$100 000 for further detention of three days in a holding cell in January last year in Rundu and an additional N$170 000 for both claims and legal costs, the government, through State attorney Jabulani Ncube is offering N$60 000.
The offer from the government attorney states that the defendant – minister – accepts liability in relation to the conduct of police officers when they detained the general for a period of three days. However, they say, the monetary value to be paid is an issue. According to the attorney general, the claims of the general are not equitable with the damages he sustained. They claim that the court should be provided with tangible evidence which “is not thumb sucked evidence” that should assist the court to determine a fair, just and equitable award under the circumstances.
The new settlement offer was introduced Tuesday morning. It, however, seems that the general is not interested in the offer and is continuing his claim against the ministry.
Sisa Namandje, who is representing the general, said the court faces the burden of determining adequate compensation.
“The arrest and detention were not necessary and appropriate as the members of the police did not have any fear that the plaintiff (Hamunyela), if given summons, would appear in court. There was no reasonable suspicion that the plaintiff had committed any offence and there was no warrant for the plaintiff’s arrest,” stated the court documents filed at the High Court of Namibia.
Furthermore, Hamunyela is claiming had it not been for the misrepresentation of facts by the Namibian Police, he would have been released earlier.
Namandje further said that there was no lawful, appropriate, and necessary justification for his client’s detention. It follows from this that the defendant has violated the plaintiff’s right to liberty, dignity and fundamental freedom of movement and he is thus entitled to just compensation, Namandje argued. In the premises, he said, the general is entitled to compensation in the amount of N$150 000 for unlawful arrest, N$100 000 for unlawful detention and N$170 000 for both and legal expenses.
Hamunyela was arrested in the Kavango West region at his farm for stock theft charges of three oxen and two cows, with a combined value of N$20 000.
He appeared before acting magistrate Rufinus Hikerua and prosecutor Hilia Munzenze and was remanded in custody until he was released following a formal bail hearing.
According to Namandje, it was the unlawful actions of the members of the Namibian Police involved and their misrepresentation of facts and their malice-motivated opposition to the plaintiff’s release that caused his client to remain in custody for an extra three days and as such, the minister under whose watch they operate is liable for their actions.
“One of the considerations is the fact that the defendant did not have any regard to the plaintiff’s dignity or his position in society. His treatment was a brutal and cruel aggression on his dignity, without justification. As a result, the offer is a disgrace and they want the full amount claimed plus costs for two legal practitioners, Namandje stated.