WINDHOEK - Omusati businessman Maurus Valombola, 61, who was acquitted on murder, but convicted on the lesser charge of culpable homicide for fatally bumping 32-year-old Benhard Kalimbo, was sentenced to an effective three years in jail.
Oshakati High Court Judge Herman January sentenced Valombola to nine years of which he suspended six years for five years on condition that Valombola is not convicted of culpable homicide during the period of suspension on Friday last week.
This essentially means that Valombola will have to spend at least two years in jail before he will be eligible to be released on parole.
The judge further ordered that a pair of sandals that belonged to the deceased and used in the trial as an exhibit must be returned to the biological mother of the deceased as well as that the parts of the pool table and the stick used to assault the deceased must be destroyed.
He further ordered that the pistol, magazine, holster and empty cartridges of the accused must be returned to him as well as his motor vehicle he used to bump the deceased.
Judge January found that Valombola hit Kalimbo with his vehicle after deliberately pursuing him on February 6, 2013 at Okeeke village in the Omusati Region, following a scuffle between the two of them earlier that day and that Kalimbo died of the injuries he sustained the next day.
According to the judge, Valombola used the motor vehicle as a weapon or an instrument to cause injury. “He was negligent to a high degree and it is therefore inevitable that he should be sentenced to direct imprisonment,” stated the judge.
But, the judge said, it should be taken into account that Valombola has been in custody while waiting for his trial to finalise for a period of six years and four months.
He said that since the incarceration of Valombola, he has suffered various losses including all his cattle and sheep.
According to the judge, seven of Valombola’s business had to close down including 10 depots and eight of his 10 bars.
“He had 60 employees and now remains with only six,” the judge said and continued: “He went into debt as a result of legal fees and the maintenance of his family.”
Judge January further said this was a crime of senseless violence against the person of another.
“Photographs of the deceased depict bruises on the stomach and severe open scratches on the left arm. The deceased was in severe pain according to the evidence before court. It was evident from the mother’s evidence that she was traumatised and in mental anguish and pain by the untimely death of her son. The accused, it seemed, lacks remorse.”
He continued: “I find the degree of culpability quite high. The accused as the headman of his village, should be, and should have been an example to his subordinates. He would certainly not condone if one of his subordinates unjustifiably causes the death of another person or persons,” the judge remarked.
He further said the crime is not only unlawful and negligent to a high degree but also unconstitutional as the Namibian constitution protects the sanctity of life and Valombola should, as a leader, know how to act in accordance with the constitution.
Valombola was represented by Pieter Greyling of Greyling & Associates in Oshakati and the State by Advocate Licius Matota.