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More fuel on Lichtenstrasser fire

2022-04-01  Roland Routh

More fuel on Lichtenstrasser fire

A witness who worked at a service station in Karibib, during the period the State alleges double murder accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser killed two senior executives of NIMT in Arandis, testified yesterday about seeing him the night after the murders.

Laurentius Katambo told Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg that he was on duty on 16 April 2019, when he noticed a white Nissan bakkie with Tsumeb registration numbers parked behind the service station and a white male person embarked from it. 

The bakkie did not come with the highway, but with a gravel road that run from Usakos to Karibib. This person went to the toilets, he said. After visiting the toilets, the person moved his bakkie in front of the toilet. The person then approached him and asked for his cellphone to call his wife, he continued. 

He further informed the court that he recognised the person as a neighbour of his who lived on a resettlement farm adjacent to his village in the Karibib District. Katambo told the court he purchased N$5 cellphone credit and gave the phone to Lichtenstrasser who promised him N$50 when his (Lichtenstrasser) wife sends him money. 

According to Katambo, Lichtenstrasser told him he lost his cellphone and wallet. Lichtenstrasser then called his wife and she send him a text message with a cellphone number and the name ‘Jason’. Lichtenstrasser then went and parked at the petrol pumps, but did not put in petrol. He said that Lichtenstrasser still had his cellphone and was busy talking, but he did not know if he was called or if he called someone. 

A friend of his, Steven King arrived at the service station to make use of the Wi-Fi and when he opened his WhatsApp, they saw a post on a man being sought for the double murder at NIMT. 

“I immediately tried to call two police officers I know, but they did not answer and I then decided to go the carwash to send another friend, Gazza, to the police station. However, halfway to the carwash, I met Gazza and told him to go to the police station and report that the man they are looking for is at the service station.” 

In the meantime, he said, Lichtenstrasser moved his car to the ATM. The police then arrived and Lichtenstrasser was body searched and then put in handcuffs. During cross-examination, legal aid lawyer Albert Titus, on behalf of Lichtenstrasser, said it is not disputed that his client was at the service station on the night in question, but that he denies that he first parked behind the building, also that he admit using the witnesses’ cellphone. He further said his client’s instructions are that the witness was under the influence of alcohol. 

The witness denied this.     

Lichtenstrasser is on trial for the murder of Eckhardt Mueller who was the executive director at the time, and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig, who were gunned down at the entrance of the Arandis NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town on 15 April 2019.

Lichtenstrasser pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of possessing a firearm without a licence, and further charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition at the start of his trial. 

He did not provide a plea explanation and Titus confirmed the pleas and told the court his client will make use of his constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent and put the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him.

The State is represented by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef and Lichtenstrasser remains in custody.


2022-04-01  Roland Routh

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