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State, taxi driver fail to agree settlement 

2021-07-14  Maria Amakali

State, taxi driver fail to agree settlement 
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The case of a taxi driver suing government for N$11.2 million for wrongful arrest and detention is back in court after failed negotiations between the parties.

Petrus Shoovaleka filed a suit during 2017 in the High Court, stating he was wrongfully arrested and kept in police custody for 10 years before being acquitted of all charges.

According to documents filed before court, Shoovaleka and the respondents, including the prosecutor general, minister of safety and security and inspector general of the Namibian police, could not reach an out-of-court settlement.

Thus,“in line with their previous agreement in the event of a failure to settle, the parties hereby request that the matter be set down for trial for the determination of quantum”.

In his suit, Shoovaleka is claiming N$65 000 for the repair and renewal of a taxi licence permit for his taxi that was confiscated by the police. The vehicle is still in the custody of the police. 

He is further claiming N$1.58 million for the loss of income he would have made from operating his taxi in 10 years if he was not in prison, N$8 million for being kept unlawfully in police custody, as well as N$1 million for the emotional suffering he and his family endured during his incarceration. 

As a result of his incarceration, Shoovaleka claims his family suffered emotionally, and his children’s school performance was negatively affected.

The claim amounts to N$11.2 million.

Shoovaleka was arrested by the police on 5 December 2005 on five counts related to an armed robbery in Katutura.

It is alleged that he was part of seven robbers who stormed into a Woermann Brock store, and held late-night shoppers and staff at gunpoint. 

They allegedly took cash and some items from the shop before attempting to flee the scene, only to realise that the police had surrounded them. 

The robbers opened fire, after which the police returned fire in self-defence. Two of them were shot dead, while the other two were injured and arrested.

Shoovaleka, who at the time was a taxi driver, allegedly drove the getaway car, police reports said at the time. 

He then spent seven years in custody before going on trial. After three years on trial, the Windhoek Regional Court acquitted him on all charges on 11 July 2016. 

The case has been set down for 22 September for case management before Judge Herman Oosthuizen. The inspector general has been ordered to file his plea before or on 13 August.

2021-07-14  Maria Amakali

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