Police cleared on cell pregnancy

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WINDHOEK – The internal investigation that was launched after New Era broke a story about a female inmate who got impregnated whilst in police custody has cleared police officers of any involvement, it was revealed exclusively to New Era this week. 

Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi informed this newspaper on Sunday that the woman in question, Johanna Lukas, fingered one of her fellow inmates as the person responsible for her pregnancy. The male inmate, who has not been identified, however denied responsibility for the pregnancy. DNA samples have now been collected from the suspect and police are awaiting the test results. According to Kanguatjivi information available at this stage suggests that the male inmates in the Narraville police holding cells where Lukas was trial-awaiting somehow managed to dig a hole in the wall that separates the female inmates from the males and proceeded to have intercourse with them resulting in the impregnation of Lukas. She subsequently gave birth to a baby boy on August 18 last year after being in custody since October 2012 when she and Gwen Nelwembe were arrested on rape and child trafficking charges.

It is alleged that Lukas and Nelwembe trafficked three under-age girls to a South African citizen, Martinus Pretorius for sex. Pretorius managed to evade arrest and is believed to have fled to South Africa. At the time of the incidents Pretorius was employed at one of the Uranium mines at the coast. When New Era first reported about Lukas casually whipping out her breast to feed her then one-month-old boy, her relatives came forward and informed this newspaper that Lukas was impregnated while in custody. At the time her relatives accused a certain police officer, whose name was not made public, of letting out of his cell the unnamed father of Lukas’ baby and sneaking him into the cell where Lukas was held on several occasions. This allegation has however now been quashed by the internal investigation. At the time Lukas breastfed her infant while in the accused box in the Windhoek High Court before Judge President Petrus Damaseb, the Judge President wanted to know whether bail is not a possibility for Lukas considering her circumstances at the time. However, a formal bail hearing before Judge Collins Parker left Lukas in custody with her baby, as the State was successful in its objection to bail for fear of witness intimidation. At the formal bail hearing a social worker for the Walvis Bay Prison, Antoinette Platt, also gave evidence and told the court that the cells for trial-awaiting prisoners at Walvis Bay Prison where Lukas is incarcerated with her baby are well suited for both mother and baby. When New Era visited Lukas during a previous spell in the Wanaheda Police Station to enquire whether her pregnancy was the result of rape or whether it was the result of consensual sex, a tearful Lukas became very cagey giving the impression that she is afraid or is protecting someone. Her next court appearance is on Thursday for another pre-trial conference before the Judge President.

By Roland Routh