The main accused in the trial of five men accused of the murder of Walvis Bay businessman Hans- Jorg Möller yesterday applied to have three State witnesses recalled for cross-examination.
Gotlieb Panduleni (accused 1) through his privately instructed lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji informed Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku yesterday that they will endeavour to recall Inspector Helena Ashikoto, Warrant Officers Frans Nakangombe and Joseph Ndileowike to be cross-examined again. According to him, it is to clear up some misgivings they have about the officers’ testimony.
Nakangombe and Ndileowike were the officers who arrested Panduleni at a roadblock in the north and allegedly found the murder weapon and some items of the deceased in his possession.
Advocate Basson Lilungwe opposed the application and said that there is no reason to revisit the evidence of the officers. According to him, they were extensively cross-examined by Panduleni’s erstwhile lawyer and the accused must stand or fall by his instructions to his lawyer.
Panduleni fired Tjingairi Kaurivi last year after he failed to apply to recall Ashikoto after the State closed its case. Lilungwe was adamant that recalling of a witness is not just for the mere asking, but an applicant must have substantial reasons for it. In this instance, he said, there will be no injustice to the accused as the instructions of Panduleni were carried out in full and he cannot afterwards claim “bad lawyering”.
Siyomunji, however, told the court that it is not about bad lawyering, but that his client informed his lawyer that he was not happy with the cross-examination as there was some aspects that needed to be cleared up which the lawyer refused to do. He further said that the prosecution cannot simply say that all instructions were carried out as it was not privy to consultations between Panduleni and his lawyer.
Judge Usiku indicated that she will give her ruling on the application tomorrow.
The matter has already been postponed for several months after Panduleni fired Kaurivi for not following his instructions. The judge has already warned Panduleni that she will not tolerate any more delays in finalising the matter and that if he continues to chop and change lawyers, he will draw the short straw. Siyomunji, however told the court that the application was not a delay tactic and that his client deserves to be treated fairly in accordance with Article 12 of the Namibian Constitution which guarantees a fair trial.
Panduleni, David Tashiya, David Shekudja, Elly Ndapuka Hinaivali and Malakia Shiweda are charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit housebreaking with the intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
They are also charged with housebreaking with the intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition for allegedly breaking into the house of Möller during a daring robbery.
The accused allegedly shot him when he came to the defence of his wife and children during the early morning hours of 17 June 2016. They then ransacked the house in search of money and other valuables, where after they fled the scene with the stolen items, it is charged.
Möller was transported to a hospital, where he succumbed to injuries he sustained due to the gunshot.
According to the State, the five accused acted with a common purpose.
Tashiya is represented by Kalundu Kamwi, Shekudja by legal aid lawyer Tanya Klazen, Trevor Brockerhoff represents Hinaivali and Joseph Andreas is on record for Shiweda. The accused remain in custody.