Murder Plot Trial to Continue in 2015

THE trial of aertising company owner Susanne Hoff, who is denying that she hatched a plot to murder her estranged husband near the end of 2011, is scheduled to continue in the Windhoek Regional Court only in March next year.

Hoff’s trial, which started before Magistrate Dinnah Usiku on Monday, was postponed after the prosecution’s third witness in the case completed his testimony yesterday. With the next State witness not expected to be able to complete his testimony yesterday, which was the last day that the trial had been set down on the court’s toll, Hoff’s case was postponed to the period of 23 to 31 March 2015.

Hoff (53) pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit murder on Monday. The prosecution is alleging that she orchestrated a conspiracy with three other people during November 2011 to have her husband, Khomas Hochland area farmer Egbert Hoff, murdered.

Mrs Hoff was arrested on 30 November 2012. She spent nearly four and a half months in custody before she was granted bail of N$50 000 after appealing to the High Court against a magistrate’s decision not to release her on bail.

One of the prosecution’s witnesses in the trial, Wilbard Malima, testified this week that after he had met Mrs Hoff through an acquaintance in mid-November 2011 she at first told him that she was looking for someone who would be able to put her abusive husband in a wheelchair by breaking his back.

Malima claimed that at a subsequent meeting with Mrs Hoff she told him that she simply wanted her husband to be killed.

Although he is not in the business of killing people he went along with Mrs Hoff’s plans because he wanted to get more information on the plot before he was going to notify the police, Malima said.

He also testified that Mrs Hoff told him and a friend that they would be paid N$25 000 for killing Mr Hoff. He further said Mrs Hoff first gave him N$1 000 and then handed over N$12 000 to him while the plan to murder Mr Hoff was still being discussed.

Although he is not a hired killer, he proceeded to spend the money that had been given to him for the killing, Malima acknowledged.

According to the version of Mrs Hoff, which defence counsel Esi Schimming-Chase has put to Malima, she was in contact with Malima because she wanted to see if he could help her catch Mr Hoff selling some of her stud horses at his farm. Mrs Hoff is saying that she gave Malima N$10 000, which he was supposed to use when he tried to buy a horse from Mr Hoff, Schimming-Chase told the witness. Mrs Hoff also wanted him to get confirmation of the transaction on paper so that she could use it as proof that her husband was selling her horses, Malima was told.

Malima denied that he and Mrs Hoff discussed any horse purchase.

Mrs Hoff was arrested after Malima had gone to the police with a claim that she wanted him to kill her husband.

Under cross-examination from Schimming-Chase yesterday, Malima acknowledged that he never asked Mrs Hoff for a photograph of her husband while he and she were supposedly discussing her request to have Mr Hoff murdered. Malima said a photograph of Mr Hoff was not necessary because Mrs Hoff had told him that on the day that her husband was to be killed she would take the hired killers to her husband’s farm herself.

Malima has also told the court that on the day Mrs Hoff was arrested he had contacted her on the instructions of a police officer and told her that the planned killing had been carried out. Mrs Hoff was arrested when she met Malima and his friend after that.

According to Mrs Hoff, though, she met them after Malima had notified her that he had bought a horse from Mr Hoff as requested by her, Schimming-Chase has told the witness. Mrs Hoff is also claiming that Malima was repeatedly increasing the amount of money that he wanted to be paid to pose as a horse buyer, and that she had become suspicious about his motives before she was trapped and arrested.

Public prosecutor Taodago Gaweseb is representing the State.

Source : The Namibian