Roland Routh WINDHOEK - A Swakopmund resident facing charges of trafficking and the alleged rape of five minor girls in the seaside town’s DRC location during November 2015 to May 2016 claimed he was framed possibly by one of the girls’ mother and aunt. Bertus Koch, 40, said the reason why the two ladies possibly framed him was because he rejected the sexual advances of one of them and because he refused to lend money to the other. He could however not explain, when State Advocate Innocencia Niyoni asked why the testimonies of the women and the girls were not identical, whether they were coached by the women. According to Niyoni, the evidence of the girls was more detailed that of the two women he said could have framed him, showing what they told the court was what actually happened to them. During his testimony in his own defence, Koch told High Court Judge President and Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb that he could never do such horrible things as ascribed to him by the State, as the alleged victims were merely small children. This prompted Judge Damaseb to ask Koch at the end of Niyoni’s cross-examination why he then rejected the sexual advances of the woman. Koch said the girls in question always came to his shack and he would feed them and also give them gifts like hair utilities, lotion and hairspray that he would pick up from skip containers and the dumpsite. He further said he collected foodstuffs that had expired from grocery retailers which he used to prepare meals and he shared these items with his neighbours. He conceded during cross-examination that he used to send the girls to buy him cigarettes or tobacco, but denied touching them inappropriately or putting baby oil on his hands or their private parts. According to him, he does not know why the girls made up such allegations. Koch further testified he used to collect disused items as well as empty bottles, which he would sell for cash and from this money he would buy foodstuffs and sweets which he would share with the children in his neighbourhood. According to him, the neighbours never had a problem with him doing this and it only became problematic after the allegations of him violating the girls came to the fore. With regard to the pictures of naked women on his walls, he said he found the pictures in a skip container and as they were framed with a glass cover he took them home with the intention of removing the pictures from the frames and selling the frames. He however did not get to doing it by the time of his arrest. One of the alleged victims testified that on April 30, 2016 she and another of the complainants were in his room and he gave them baby formula to drink before he violated them. Koch is accused of the rape and trafficking of the children aged nine, 11, 12 and 13 on diverse occasions in the DRC settlement of Swakopmund. A greater part of the trial was conducted behind closed doors in camera as the victims are all under the age of 18 years. The State alleges Koch raped the five girls during the period November 2015 to May 2016 in his zinc house at the DRC area of Swakopmund. According to the indictment, he lured them into his house with the promises of food and sweets, then locked them up and raped them on several occasions. He is facing five counts of child trafficking and five counts of rape, alternatively committing a sexual act with a child below the age of 16 years. The trial will resume on Monday. Koch remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting inmates and he is represented by legal aid lawyer Mpokiseng Dube.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-03 09:06:29 8 months ago