A former magistrate alongside his co-accused facing criminal charges for allegedly fraudulently assisting a South African family to obtain Namibian citizenship, in exchange for money, made their first appearance in the Windhoek Regional Court.
Former judicial officer Walter Mostert and co-accused Joyline Kambatuku, Eveline Meroro and Joram Salomo had their case transferred to the Windhoek Regional Court last month where they are scheduled to be tried.
During their court appearance before magistrate Johannes Shuuveni, the accused were informed that their case would be postponed to 11 August for the court to allocate a date on which their trial hearing will start. The court held over a warrant of arrest for Meroro who is currently hospitalised.
Mostert and his co-accused are charged with counts under the Anti-Corruption Act and the Immigration Control Act, money laundering, extortion, fraud and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The State is alleging that the charges emanate from a period between 2012 and 2013 when Mostert worked in cahoots with his co-accused by assisting a South African family to obtain Namibian identity documents illegally. He allegedly furnished the ministry of home affairs with false documents that members of that family and their parents had been born at Usakos.
In 2013, Mostert extorted N$90 000 from one Kosie Pieterse when he informed him that his family member was arrested for overstaying in Namibia after the visa had expired, alleges the prosecution.
The prosecution is further alleging that Mostert fraudulently obtained another N$250 000 from Pieterse. He allegedly told Pieterse that the money would help with his application to acquire Namibian permanent residence.
Mostert was arrested on 1 May, after he had returned to Namibia from South Africa, where he had been living for the past four years. The Anti-Corruption Commission has been looking for him since September 2018.
The former judicial officer and his co-accused are currently in police custody, with Mostert being held at Windhoek Central Prison while his co-accused are out on warning.
Local lawyers Evert Gous, Tjingairi Kaurivi and Pierre Coetzee are representing the group, with Sirka Nangoro prosecuting for the State.