WINDHOEK – Motorists who are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol are set to fork out up to N$8 000 for their release from police custody.
The new standardized bail amounts were set up by the Namibian Police (Nampol), the prosecutor-general and chief magistrate and will be maintained across the board. The new standardized bail amounts relate to any offences under the Road Transport and Traffic Act, Act No. 22 of 1999 and Regulations of 2001 as well as Act No.74 of 1977.
Namibian citizens that are caught driving while drunk will be paying N$8 000 in bail money while visiting foreigner offenders are expected to pay N$9 000.
For other traffic offences that fall under the said act, perpetrators are expected to pay N$4 000 for bail.
Deputy Commissioner Amalia Gawanas, head of the Traffic Law Enforcement Division, explained that there was no uniformity in relation to bail amount in the country, thus there was a need for a standardized bail amount.
“In some areas, traffic offenders used to pay N$4 000. In the north, they used to pay N$2 000, N$4 000 in the central area and N$8 000 in Erongo. That is why we needed uniformity,” said Gawanas.
The new standardized bail amounts can be paid at all police stations before the perpetrator makes his/her first appearance in a lower court.
In a directive to all regional commanders, police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga directed the enforcement of the new standardized bail amounts.
However, local lawyer Norman Tjombe took to social media to state the directive is legally wrong and untenable.
He highlighted that a bail amount is determined by various factors such as risk of flight, seriousness of the offence and ability of the accused to pay bail.
“The amount of N$8 000 is certainly out of reach for many people, and that would mean that they will remain in detention for a prolonged period even though the offence might not be serious to warrant that, and that there is no risk that the person will flee to avoid trial,” said Tjombe.