Deputy Prisons Chief Acquitted On All Charges

THE deputy commissioner general of the Namibian Correctional Service, Tuhafeni Hangula, was found not guilty of six criminal charges over the authenticity of his Grade 12 certificate and receiving stolen building materials in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Hangula (45) left the court with tears streaking down his face and in an embrace with his mother, Martha Hangula, after hearing Magistrate John Sindano acquitting him on all of the charges he has faced in a trial that started in January.

In his verdict, Magistrate Sindano said he was convinced that the evidence presented by the prosecution during the trial showed that there were defects on Hangula’s Standard 10 (Grade 12) certificate. However, the only reasonable inference that could be drawn from the evidence is that the certificate was issued by the proper authorities in the Ministry of Education, the magistrate found.

The prosecution has not shown that Hangula colluded or participated in the issuing of the certificate, which was alleged to be forged, Magistrate Sindano also found.

Five of the charges against Hangula stemmed from allegations that the Standard 10 certificate that was issued to him in May 1993, with effect from December 1990, is not genuine.

Hangula was charged with counts of fraud, theft, forgery and two counts of uttering in connection with those allegations.

In the last charge it was alleged that Hangula received stolen building materials from someone in Windhoek on 7 November 2010.

Magistrate Sindano said in his judgement that the prosecution’s case on the first five charges rested on twin pillars, which were that Hangula’s school certificate fell short of the requirements for the senior certificate, and that he knew that the certificate had such shortcomings and still presented the qualification to his employer and the Polytech.

The evidence showed that the marks that Hangula obtained in his matric subjects fell short of the overall mark required for a senior certificate, that an incorrect grade of one of his subjects was reflected on the certificate, and that one of the subjects that he had passed, Biology, was not reflected on the document, the magistrate noted.

Hangula’s defence was that the ministry issued the certificate to him and that he did not know that there were shortcomings in the document, the magistrate recounted. While officials from the Ministry of Education appeared to disown the certificate when they testified in the trial, the only reasonable inference that could be drawn from the evidence was that the certificate and its serial number had indeed originated from the ministry, Magistrate Sindano found.

On the last charge, he found that Hangula’s version – that he was not aware that tiles that a building site foreman sold to him had been stolen from the contractor who was the foreman’s employer – could be true, with the result that he was entitled to be found not guilty on that charge as well.

Allegations about the validity of his school certificate have been dogging Hangula for close to 20 years. After the authenticity of the certificate was first questioned in a newspaper in early 1995, Hangula obtained a letter from the Ministry of Education in which it was confirmed that his senior certificate was indeed valid and correct.

Hangula has in the meantime continued to improve his academic qualifications, and graduated at the Polytechnic of Namibia with a Bachelor of Criminal Justice (Correctional Management) degree in 2012.

Defence lawyer Sisa Namandje represented Hangula during his trial. Erick Moyo prosecuted.

Source : The Namibian