Ombudsman’s report on child’s death to be released Friday

WINDHOEK: A report by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with an incident that allegedly caused the death of a four-year-old child in a police holding cell, will be made public this Friday.

This was announced by the Ombudsman, Advocate John Walters during a media conference on the consultative process for the development of Namibia’s First National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) here on Wednesday morning.

“The report in connection with the incident that allegedly caused the death of Tenete Fortuna in the Wanaheda Police Station’s holding cells on 21 January 2014 is now ready. This report will be made public on Friday this week,” said Walters.

Fortuna died at the Katutura State Hospital on 21 January 2014, a few hours after a female inmate allegedly hit the child’s head against the floor twice in the Wanaheda Police Station’s holding cells. He sustained serious head injuries.

An alleged fight between the mother of the child, the 29-year-old Kaarina Mateus, and another female inmate Loise Kaambu, 32, had allegedly led to the death of the boy, who was incarcerated with his mother at the time of the alleged incident.

Meanwhile, Namibian Police Force (NamPol) investigations into Fortuna’s death are not yet complete.

This came to light when Kaambu, who allegedly caused the death of the child in the Wanaheda Police Station’s holding cells this year, made another appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday.

Kaambu, who now faces a charge of murder, made a third appearance before Windhoek Magistrate Surita Savage when her case was remanded until 01 September this year for the police investigating officers to complete their investigations.

Last week, Kaambu repeated her earlier stance of not wanting to be provided with free legal assistance from the government.

During previous court proceedings, she told the court: “I will not apply to the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid for a State-funded lawyer because I do not need such legal assistance.”

Kaambu was refused bail when she made her first appearance in the same court on 27 January 2014.

During that first court appearance, Public Prosecutor Peter Kandjumbwa objected to the granting of bail because of the seriousness of the charge of murder.

She was, however, advised to bring a formal bail application before court if she wanted to be released on bail.

She, however, did not bring any formal bail application before court.

The incident that allegedly caused the death of the child took place on 21 January 2014 between 14h00 and 15h00, and the boy died at the Katutura State Hospital at around 19h45 on the same day.

The boy’s mother was allegedly in custody for shoplifting, and had failed to post bail of N.dollars 500.

Alleged killer Kaambu was in police custody at the time of the incident for assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

After the incident, Kaambu was moved from the female police cell to the visitors’ cell to prevent her from harming other female inmates.

She is now being kept in police custody at the newly-built police holding cells at the eastern town of Gobabis in the Omaheke Region.