Kazeurua murder trial resumes

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Kazeurua murder trial resumes

The long-running murder and stock theft trial of four men accused of murdering renowned stock theft investigator Hiambepo ‘Major’ Kazeurua, resumed in the Windhoek High Court this week before Acting Judge Alfred Siboleka.

The trial, which started in 2015, has seen delay after delay. It is set down for this week.

The matter, which was supposed to start in 2014, was plagued by postponements because of recusal applications, the withdrawal of lawyers, and bail applications. 

Stockley Kauejao (49), Muvare Kaporo and Mathew Kakururume pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, stock theft and defeating or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice at the start of their trial. Afas Kamutjemo (49) pleaded not guilty to a charge of stock theft. It is alleged that the stolen cattle were mixed with Kamutjemo’s cattle on his grandfather’s farm. They put the onus of proof on the state for every allegation against them. According to the indictment, the accused conspired to kill Kazeurua to prevent him from tracing cattle they had stolen, and Kaporo and Kakururume ambushed and killed him by strangling him and throwing sand in his mouth to prevent him from breathing. This allegedly happened on 28 December 2012. The partly-burned body of Kazeurua was found in an aardvark burrow on 7 January 2013 after being reported missing days earlier. 

On Tuesday, Kakururume started to testify in his own defence, and told the court that he was not at that farm when the deceased was killed. He further said that he had left the farm on 23 December 2012 after he found other employment in Windhoek. He also informed his former employer, Hadley Mwashekele, in November of that year already that he was leaving, and the latter asked him to stay on for a while to let him find a replacement. He further told the court that the people saying he was still at the farm on 26 December 2012 are lying. He likewise again disputed a confession he made to a magistrate in Gobabis shortly after his arrest, and said he was coerced into making the confession, was assaulted by the police, and told what to say. Judge Siboleka already admitted the confession into evidence after a trial within a trial. During cross-examination, Esekiel Ipinge for the State wanted to know from Kakururume why several people would lie to implicate him. Ipinge put it to Kakururume that even his co-accused Kaporo said that he was with the deceased when the latter came to fetch him on 26 December. Kakururume only said “people are lying, even if 20 or 50 persons say I was at the farm, they are all lying.”

The judge previously cancelled Kauejao’s bail by using the powers vested in him, according to section 68(3) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 as amended, and refused to entertain another bail application, but Kauejao has a pending bail application on new facts. Similarly, he refused to grant bail to Kakururume and Kaporo, who recently applied for bail after languishing in custody since their arrest in 2012. 

The only one who is currently on bail is Kamutjemo.

The matter continues today, and Kakururume and Kaporo are represented by Mbanga Siyomunji; Kauejao by Salomon Kanyemba; and Kamutjemo by Jan Wessels. They remain in custody at the section for trial-awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. The judge ordered that Kauejao should be kept separate from his co-accused.