The State’s notion of a strong prima facie case alone is not sufficient to deny the release of Swapo Party Youth League leader Sylas Mungoba from police custody.
This was the verdict rendered by Windhoek magistrate Celma Amadhila yesterday in Mungoba’s case.
The 34-year-old Mungoba is accused of bribing Affirmative Repositioning movement leaders Paulus Kathanga and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma last month in a plot to allegedly mobilise for the release of Fishrot accused from custody on bail.
“The applicant has been a law-abiding citizen for many years, he has no pending cases, he is a first-time offender and there is no evidence that he will interfere with investigations and or State witnesses,” said Amadhila.
Amadhila said despite Mungoba having family ties in South Africa, the risk of him absconding is very remote and there is no evidence that he would break his strong family ties in Namibia and abscond.
The court further concluded it has not been proven the money used came from or was channelled from the Fishrot accused and there is also no evidence of public outcry should Mungoba be released on bail pending the finalisation of his case.
Amadhila granted Mungoba bail in the amount of N$10 000 on condition that he may not interfere with ongoing investigations and or State witnesses and he should not leave the district of Windhoek without the approval of the investigating officer.
Mungoba is charged with a count of corruptly giving gratification under section 34 (a) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 8 of 2003 for allegedly having tried to directly or indirectly give gratification as an inducement. He is further charged with a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
The prosecution is alleging Mungoba tried to entice Kathanga and Nauyoma to mobilise and launch a protest for the release of those currently in police custody for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-dollar fisheries bribery case currently before the High Court. He was arrested during a sting operation in which he gave N$8 000 to Kathanga as down payment for the protest.
According to ACC lead investigator Phelem Masule, Kathanga reported the matter and indicated in his affidavit that Mungoba first approached him in 2020 with intent to halt the demonstrations against the release of the Fishrot accused from custody on bail.
Those demonstrations nonetheless took place.
According to the charge sheet, Kathanga and Nauyoma were to receive N$10 000 each and would later receive payments in portions of N$50 000, N$60 000 and N$80 000 once everything has progressed as planned.
Mungoba has denied the allegations, saying he was set up as Kathanga and Nauyoma are seeking political relevance.
He said he considered Nauyoma as his friend and has known him for years. He has denied approaching Kathanga and Nauyoma to organise any sort of demonstration against the Judiciary. He said he only approached them so they can create awareness around the Fishrot issue through their social media platforms. He further indicated the N$8 000 he allegedly offered Kathanga was from his personal business account and not Fishrot money. His case has been postponed to 2 September for further police investigations.