Alleged ‘Sex Traders’ Dispute Charges

Two women accused of selling minor girls for sex denied all charges against them in the Windhoek High Court before Judge President Petrus Damaseb yesterday.

Johanna Lukas – who New Era reported about extensively because of her impregnation in custody – and Gwen Nelwembe, a Zambian citizen, face various charges of trafficking in persons, rape, soliciting or enticing a minor to the commission of a sexual or an indecent or immoral act and rape on diverse occasions. Lukas faces 11 counts and Nelwembe 2 counts. It is alleged that Lukas and Nelwembe offered the minor girls up for sale to a Swakopmund resident, Marthinus Martin Pretorius, during April, May and June 2012 for sex under coercive circumstances, since the girls were exceptionally vulnerable because of their ages. Pretorius, who is a South African citizen, was at the time of the incidents employed at one of the Uranium mines at the coast. He managed to evade arrest and is believed to have fled to South Africa.

After Aocate Innocencia Nyoni read the charges one by one, Lukas – who made news after she casually whipped out her breast and fed her then one-month-old baby during her first pre-trial appearance before the Judge President – answered not guilty in Afrikaans on every charge. Her legal representative, Louis Karsten confirmed the pleas and told the Judge President that his client will not submit a plea explanation, but that her answers in the reply to the state’s pre-trial memoranda already address the issues. In the reply Lukas admitted she knew both complainants, but she denied the allegations that she ever enticed them to have sex with Pretorius for money. While she admits that she took one of the complainants to the home of Pretorius, she denies it was with the intention to coerce her into having sex with Pretorius. According to the reply she went to the house of Pretorius because he allegedly wanted to start an organisation to help the less privileged and she knew the complainant to be in need of assistance. According to Lukas she never knew that Pretorius had sexual intercourse with any of the complainants, at least not until she was arrested by the police. She further denies she took any of the complainants to the home of Pretorius on subsequent occasions.

While Lukas confirmed to New Era that a DNA sample was taken from her baby for the internal investigation lodged by the police following her mysterious impregnation, the outcome of the investigation remains unknown. Lukas, however told this reporter that the father of her baby is not a police officer, but a fellow inmate although she would not divulge his name. How the inmate managed to get into Lukas’ cell or vice versa to have sex remains a mystery for now.

Nelwembe who spoke through a Nyanja interpreter, Christopher Maswahu, also denied all the charges against her. Her state funded lawyer, Tabitha Mbome confirmed the pleas and also informed the Judge President that she will not submit a plea explanation and will not disclose the basis of her defence at this stage. She told the Judge President that she will confine herself to her reply to the state’s pre-trial memoranda. In the reply Nelwembe admitted she knew the complainant, but she denies ever enticing or asking the complainant to have sex with Pretorius in exchange for money. She also denied any knowledge of any sexual relations between the complainant in her case and Pretorius and put the onus on the state to prove any or all off the charges against her. The case continues.

Source : New Era