Reluctant Witness Implicates Robbery Accused

ONE of the men on trial in connection with an armed robbery in which a security company owner was killed near the end of 2009 ran away from the crime scene with the company owner’s briefcase, a witness testified in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Before he ran away from the scene with the late Andries de Jager’s briefcase, which was used to collect security guards’ wages at a bank, alleged armed robber Toivo Kashipolo fired two shots at a car across the street from the office of De Jager’s security company, HAMS Security Services, prosecution witness Lincoln Scholtz told Judge Naomi Shivute.

One of the shots fired by Kashipolo went through the windshield of the car. Scholtz said he thought the driver of the car had been killed when he saw her falling onto the passenger seat of the vehicle as Kashipolo shot through the windshield of her car. However, the driver was not hit by the bullet fired at her.

“I just thank God that he missed her,” Scholtz said.

Scholtz gave evidence in the trial of Kashipolo (35) and two co-accused, Willem Kawulefelwa Valombola (43) and Fillipus Shishiveni Nomongula (36), a week after he had told Judge Shivute that he no longer wanted to testify in the trial. Scholtz said last week that he did not want to testify because he had been treated badly and falsely accused by De Jager’s daughter after she took over the security company following her father’s death.

Scholtz was given a week to reconsider his stance, after Judge Shivute informed him that under the Criminal Procedure Act he is compelled to testify and that he could be sent to prison for up to five years if he continued to refuse to give his evidence in court.

Kashipolo, Valombola and Nomongula pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of a firearm without a licence and possession of ammunition without a licence in October last year.

They are accused of having staged an armed robbery that claimed the life of security company owner Andries de Jager (68) on 2 November 2009.

De Jager was shot when he and an employee of HAMS Security Services were robbed on their return to the company’s office in the Northern Industrial Area in Windhoek with money they had withdrawn at a bank to pay the salaries of the company’s employees. A briefcase containing N$172 488,10 was stolen during the robbery. Scholtz was employed as a supervisor at the security company.

He testified that he saw Kashipolo standing across the street from the offices of HAMS Security Services during the morning before the robbery. He said he was in his office when he heard a sound like that of a firecracker outside, followed by the sound of a gunshot.

Scholtz said he grabbed his service pistol from a drawer and rushed out of the office. He found De Jager and a female colleague outside, where he handed the pistol to De Jager.

He saw blood at the back of De Jager’s shirt, he said. De Jager started to run in the direction of the street in front of the office, and he followed with a pistol that he got from the female colleague, Scholtz testified.

When they got to the street, he saw Kashipolo standing right in front of a red car, which was driven by a woman, and shooting at the car, he said. With gunshots ringing out another car at the scene – a blue BMW – drove off, and Kashipolo started to run away in a westerly direction, Scholtz said.

He testified that he and some of the company’s guards ran after Kashipolo. Scholtz said he kept his eye on Kashipolo all of the time, until Kashipolo came to a stop and sat down on an open piece of land. When he reached Kashipolo he saw that he was bleeding, Scholtz said.

Kashipolo was injured when he was struck by a bullet. He did not know who fired the bullet that struck Kashipolo, Scholtz said.

He testified that Kashipolo discarded De Jager’s briefcase while he was running away, with Scholtz and his colleagues in pursuit.

According to Kashipolo, he was merely walking from one place to another in the Northern Industrial Area when he was shot by someone, his defence lawyer, Monty Karuaihe, told the witness. Kashipolo is also denying that he was the person that was chased by Scholtz, Karuaihe said. “That’s not true,” was Scholtz’s response to Karuaihe’s instructions from his client.

The trial is continuing.

Source : The Namibian