An attempt by the minister of safety and security to drag the Inspector General of the Namibian police into a N$450 000 lawsuit of unlawful arrest and detention by retired army commander Thomas ‘Nopoudjuu’ Hamunyela, was dismissed yesterday in the High Court.
Jabulani Ncube, who is representing minister Albert Kawana, argued that police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga should form part of the proceedings as he is the employer of police officers who arrested and detained Hamunyela, and were carrying out their duties as such.
Also, if Hamunyela succeeds with his lawsuit, Ndeitunga as head of the police should also be liable.
However, Judge Esi Schimming-Chase dismissed the application with costs.
“The minister is legislatively responsible in law for the acts of the police force, and as such is vicariously liable as the state is the employer,” she said.
Schimming-Chase added that the absence of the police chief will not deter the proceedings as “witness statements have been delivered by both parties to the action, without the Inspector General having filed a single document”.
Hamunyela is suing the minister of safety for N$450 000 for allegedly unlawfully arresting him on 12 January last year, and consequently keeping him in detention for three days after he was granted bail.
Hamunyela was arrested in the Kavango West region at his farm for stock-theft.
The stock-theft charges relate to three oxen and two cows, with a combined value of N$20 000.
In his suit, Hamunyela claims that the arrest and detention were not necessary, and there was no fear of him not appearing in court if he were summoned.
He said there were other modes of securing his attendance in court.
“The arrest and detention were motivated by malice and a consideration of irrelevant factors on the part of the members of the Namibian police who were responsible for the plaintiff’s (Hamunyela) arrest,” his court documents read.
The minister, who has opted to defend the suit, said there was reasonable suspicion that Hamunyela committed the offence as the livestock in question belong to one Thadeus Naironga from the Kaparara crush pan in Kavango West.
For his suit, Hamunyela is represented by Sisa Namandje.
The matter has since been postponed to 16 May for a pre-trial conference in the High Court.