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Namoloh grilled on police brutality and disappearing dockets

By: Kelvin Chiringa

Safety minister Charles Namoloh was this past week put on the hot seat and provide Namibians with answers on police brutality and disappearing dockets.

The minister said he could not account for the number of police dockets that have gone missing before cases could be brought to court over the past five years.

The issue of missing dockets has featured in many cases where trials have failed to commence, and often times when this takes time, cases get to be struck off the roll with accused persons walking scot-free.

The minister said only court records will reveal when the docket was not presented and that he was not in a position to account for all the dockets that were not in court on the required dates.

Said Namoloh, “I may not necessarily refer to all case dockets that were not taken to courts on their court dates as disappeared; some case dockets may have just been misplaced, at the time, in the office of an investigator or his/her supervisor or a public prosecutor. I am confident that the situation will tremendously improve, with the introduction of e-policing database.”

As from 2014 to 2018, 733 case dockets were sent back for further investigations.

The minister defended his office saying this did not mean that there was a failure in investigations.

“It should be noted that for prosecution to proceed, there should be prima facie evidence. The Office of the Prosecutor General, together with MSS department of Namibian Police Force, has now embarked upon prosecution-guided investigations (PGI). This initiative is aimed at ensuring that each investigation is properly guided in conformity with the requirements of the courts,” he said.

Police brutality

Over the past 18 months, the number of cases committed by police officers in which police brutality was alleged, are three.

Said the minister, “One is on court roll in Otjozondjupa Region, one was in Omaheke Region, for which the police officer was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment.”

The one in the Khomas Region saw the police officer committing suicide almost immediately after murdering his alleged girlfriend.

Holding to account investigating officers

One key question that is central to the justice system is whether investigating officers who fail on their duty to bring accused persons to justice are punished in one way or the other.

Faced with this question, Namoloh said his ministry has got policies and regulations in place on how to deal with members who fail in or neglect their duties.

He said in this regard, Regulation 15 takes effect, as provided for in the Police Act, 1990 (Act 19 of 1990, as amended).

He also noted that his ministry does not rely on media reports to investigate cases, “but we only act upon formal complaints and reports brought forward,” he added.

Kelvin Chiringa

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