Second Withdrawal for Daberas Diamond Robbery Charges

CHARGES against four men accused of stealing diamonds worth more than N$5 million in an armed robbery at a mine in the south of Namibia more than ten years ago were withdrawn for a second time in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

The absence of the fourth accused in the case, which was the reason that prompted the first withdrawal of charges against the four men in May 2011, is again the reason for the second withdrawal.

State aocate Ethel Ndlovu told Judge Nate Ndauendapo yesterday that the fourth accused in the case, Gabriel Namupolo (39), remained on the run from the police after he had failed to make a scheduled appearance in the High Court two months ago. A warrant for the arrest of Namupolo, who had been free on bail of N$25 000, remains in force.

Ndlovu said she had instructions from the prosecutor general to provisionally withdraw the charges against the other three accused – Petrus Nujoma Kapia (40), Amon Ndjukuma (45) and Elvis Nixon Tangeni Kalipi (40) – as the prosecution was not in a position to separate the trials of the four accused and continue with the trial of the three men in the absence of Namupolo.

Namupolo was rearrested after the charges had been provisionally withdrawn for the first time. He was then again granted bail of N$25 000. Namupolo later lost his bail money when it was declared forfeited to the State in May last year, after he had failed to be present in the High Court for one of the four men’s pre-trial court appearances. Namupolo was immediately granted bail in an amount of N$25 000 again.

The four men were accused of carrying out an armed robbery in which about 1 941 unpolished diamonds, weighing 1 692 carats and valued at about N$5,15 million, were stolen from Namdeb’s Daberas Mine on the Orange River on 10 November 2003.

They were facing eight charges, made up of two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, a charge of kidnapping, a count of attempted murder, three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and a charge of unlawful entry into Namibia.

The men’s trial was initially scheduled to start in the High Court in November 2008, but did not proceed after the defence lawyers of two of the accused withdrew from the case.

An attempt to get the trial going in May 2010 also came to nought after Namupolo absconded while free on bail.

Source : The Namibian