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State applies for joinder of Zimbabweans’ trials

2023-08-31  Roland Routh

State applies for joinder of Zimbabweans’ trials

Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Philanda Christiaan on Monday reserved her judgment on an application by the prosecutor general to join the trials involving three Zimbabwean nationals accused of murder.  She will give her ruling on 18 September.

Advocate Ethel Ndlovu brought the application to join Rachel Kureva (41) to the murder trial of Edward (39) and Caroline Nkata (38). 

Edward and Caroline Nkata are accused of the brutal murder of Kureva’s biological daughter, Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho.

It is alleged that the accused assaulted the nine-year-old Chipomho to death, burnt her body and dumped the remains in a rubbish bin in Windhoek North between 23 and 25 January 2020.   

Chipomho’s mother, Kureva, was initially a co-defendant in the matter.

Kureva, who is represented by Janita Von Wieligh on instructions of Legal Aid, is opposing the application.

Her previous lawyer, Jermaine Muchali was going to apply for a review of the prosecutor general (PG)’s decision to reinstate charges after initially declining to prosecute.

It is not clear whether the new lawyer will follow the same route.

Martha Imalwa, the PG, initially declined to prosecute Kureva, but u-turned after the 14-year-old son of the Nkatas, made a statement to the police that also implicates her.

The PG then indicated that she must face charges of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, defeating the course of justice and violating a dead body. 

She was re-arrested in early January and made a first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, where her trial was postponed for the PG’s decision by magistrate Kandiwapa Nembia.

The High Court trial was ready to start with only the Nkatas until Ndlovu brought an application for a postponement of the trial, as the State wants to join Kureva to the matter.

The Nkatas will face two additional charges of attempted murder, fraud, alternatively uttering a forged document, forgery and contravening the Immigration Control Act.

The Nkatas are also charged with attempting to kill Edward’s then 11-year-old son by hitting him with a belt and unknown object all over his body between 20 and 22 January 2020. However, he survived the ordeal.

On the charge of obstructing the course of justice, the State is alleging the couple removed Chipomho’s body from their home, dumped it in a municipal skip and set it alight, in an attempt to evade prosecution.

The indictment further indicates the accused defrauded Progress Private School of N$6 000. It is alleged Caroline indicated to the school where she was employed as a teacher that Chipomho and an 11-year-old minor were her biological children. Thus, the minor children were not required to pay school fees by virtue of her being an employee at the school. 

The couple is also accused of forging school reports for the children. 

The State is further accusing the Nkatas of overstaying in the country for seven months after their employment permits expired. 

During the accused’s first appearance in court, Caroline, who admitted guilt, confessed her husband [Edward] beat Chipomho. 

She was allegedly at home when the victim was being beaten. After the assault, her husband forced her to help him dispose of the girl’s body in a rubbish skip. It was her testimony that he further forced her to accompany him to buy paraffin, dispose of the body and set it alight.

The Nkatas were spotted dragging a wheelie bin in the eastern direction of Ooievaar Street in the Rhino Park area around 21h00, and a witness felt it was suspicious.  The couple was caught on a surveillance camera in the area.  

Caroline is represented by Milton Engelbrecht and Edward by Mbanga Siyomunji, both on instruction from Legal Aid. -

2023-08-31  Roland Routh

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