WINDHOEK - State Advocate Simba Nduna yesterday asked Windhoek High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo to convict former magistrate Melaney Theron on 17 charges of misconduct while she was still a magistrate at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court.
Theron faced a mammoth 20 charges made up of seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing an offence - under the Anti-Corruption Act - two charges of corruptly soliciting or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe and six counts of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
Judge Ndauendapo, however, acquitted her on three of the charges namely count 2 contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, corruptly using office or position for gratification; count 4 contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, fraudulent concealment of offence and count 17 contravening the Anti-Corruption Act, corruptly soliciting, accepting or agreeing to accept gratification by an agent after the State closed its case.
According to the indictment, Theron was arrested on August 15, 2011, after she accepted an N$1,000 bribe from two undercover police officers.
The State alleges Theron committed these offences at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court where she was stationed between May 2011 and August 2011.
All-in-all, it is alleged the suspended magistrate accepted money totalling N$6,600 from various people accused of various traffic offences, money which she used for her personal benefit.
The State further alleges she cancelled warrants of arrest issued against the accused traffic offenders, while in some instances she recorded on court record that cases against people has been withdrawn or that they had been cautioned after pleading guilty, when in fact these people never appeared in court.
Theron was suspended with full pay and benefits until her resignation as a magistrate and is on bail of N$7,000.
During the first day of the trial yesterday, Theron pleaded not guilty to all charges and is denying the accusations against her.
She charged that the State should prove the allegations against her.
Yesterday Nduna told the judge that the State proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt against Theron. According to him, the only inference that can be drawn from the evidence presented by the State is that Theron took money from traffic offenders and made false entries on official documents in order to either withdraw warrants of arrest or finalise cases with a guilty verdict and a sentence of warned and cautioned.
This was, he said, while in actual fact the offences in question all warranted fines. According to Nduna, the accused used this modus operandi to wit fake court hearings to cover her tracks. He reminded the court that all of the State witnesses that testified against Theron were adamant that they never attended any court hearing and this remained unchallenged.
He further said in this matter while the witnesses did not come to court with clean hands, the overriding objective is to root out the corruptor while sparing the corrupted.
Theron will present her submissions in person today after she let go of her legal representative, Braam Cupido.
The case continues.
2019-02-05 09:42:38 6 months ago