Magistrate in Court for Self-Enrichment

One of the State’s witnesses on Tuesday contradicted himself on aspects in his testimony in the ongoing self-enrichment trial of former magistrate Melaney Theron.

All in all it is alleged Theron – who resigned from her job – accepted money totalling N$6 600 from various people accused of various traffic offences, money which she allegedly used for her personal benefit.

The State further alleges Theron cancelled warrants of arrest issued against the accused traffic offenders, while in some instances she recorded on court record that cases against people were withdrawn or that they were cautioned after pleading guilty, when in fact these people never appeared in court.

Schoolteacher Paulinus Kakelo had trouble remembering the dates he allegedly dealt with Theron.

At first he informed the court that Theron had contacted him after July 03, 2011 after he received a traffic ticket for driving without a licence.

He said Theron contacted him during July and “instructed” him to go to her office and pay the fine.

He said he went there before July 28 which was the day he was supposed to have appeared in court and paid Theron N$500.

He was given a traffic ticket of N$1 000, Kakelo told the court.

However, during cross-examination by Theron’s lawyer, Garth Joseph, the witness changed his tune claiming it was during August that he was contacted by Theron and that he paid her on August 19 at her office.

Theron was arrested by the police on August 15, 2011.

Even after Judge Nate Ndauendapo told Kakelo that Theron was arrested four days before he paid her the money he stuck with his story even saying the former magistrate was mistaken as to the date she was arrested.

Kakelo went to the extent of telling the court that Theron in fact warned him not to drive around without a licence as it was trade fair time.

Defence counsel Joseph had Kakelo in sixes and sevens trying to explain various discrepancies in two statements he made to the police.

The explanation he gave was that the statements were taken down by different persons.

Kakelo further told the court that after he paid Theron the money, she promised to provide him with a receipt, but that never materialised.

“I also did not bother to follow up as I deemed the issue over and done with,” he told the court.

However, he said, a short while later he heard over the radio that the police were looking for him and he went to report himself.

That was the first time he heard about the alleged scam perpetrated by Theron, Kakelo told court.

Kakelo was testifying in the trial in which Theron faces 20 charges made up of seven counts of corruptly using her office or position for gratification, five counts of fraudulently concealing an offence – under the Anti-Corruption Act – two charges of corruptly soliciting or accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe and six counts of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

His testimony concerned count five of the indictment.

According to the indictment, Theron was arrested on August 15, 2011 after she accepted an N$1 000 bribe from two undercover police officers.

The State alleges Theron committed these offences at the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court where she was stationed between May 2011 and August 2011.

Theron was suspended with full pay and benefits until her resignation as a magistrate and is out of custody after she paid bail of N$7 000.

During the first day of the trial on Monday, Theron pleaded not guilty to all charges and is denying the accusations against her.

She challenged the State to prove the allegations against her.

The case continues.

Source : New Era