A taxi driver who spent 10 years in police custody before the court ordered his release was awarded N$65 000 as compensation for his vehicle, which was in the police’s care during his stint in prison.
Windhoek High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen ordered the Minister of safety and security and inspector general of the Namibian Police to pay N$65 000 to Petrus Shoovaleka jointly.
He said interest on the payment amount at the rate of 20% per annum from 23 November 2022 to the date of payment.
Oosthuizen said the judgement for the claim by Shoovaleka against the prosecutor general will only be delivered on 20 October.
Shoovaleka filed his suit in 2017, stating he was wrongfully arrested and kept in police custody for 10 years before being acquitted of all charges.
In his suit, Shoovaleka is claiming from the inspector general and safety and security ministry N$65 000 for the repair and renewal of a taxi licence permit for his taxi that was confiscated by the police. The vehicle was also in the police custody while he was incarcerated.
He is further claiming from the prosecutor general, safety and security ministry N$1.58 million for loss of income he would have made from operating his taxi within 10 years of being in prison. N$8 million for being kept in police custody unlawfully and 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 Namibian Police on 5 December 2005 on five counts related to an armed robbery in Katutura.
It is alleged that Shoovaleka was part of seven robbers who stormed into 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 them surrounded. 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, according to police reports at the time.
Shoovaleka 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.