Women Deny Pimping Charges

TWO women accused of supplying young girls to a suspected paedophile at Swakopmund during 2012 pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of human trafficking and rape when they went on trial in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

One of the women, Namibian Johanna Lukas, denied guilt on five counts of rape, five charges of trafficking in persons, which is an offence under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and a charge of soliciting or enticing a child under the age of 16 to commit a sexual or indecent or immoral act.

Lukas’ co-accused, Zambian Gwen Nelwembe, pleaded not guilty before Judge President Petrus Damaseb to one charge of human trafficking and one count of rape.

The two women have been in police custody since their arrest in October 2012.

In the indictment listing the allegations that the prosecution is making against them, it is charged that Lukas recruited three minor girls at Swakopmund during April, May and June 2012 with the intention of allowing them to be sexually exploited by an adult man, named as one Marthinus (Martin) Pretorius.

Lukas is also accused of having caused Pretorius to rape two of the girls. The two girls were primary school pupils aged 13 and 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Nelwembe is similarly accused of having recruited a girl – aged 18 according to Nelwembe, and 17 according to the prosecution – to be sexually exploited by Pretorius. The prosecution is further accusing her of having caused Pretorius to rape the girl on diverse occasions during June 2012.

Pretorius (43) is a South African. He was living at Swakopmund, where he was reportedly employed as a construction manager at the time of the alleged incidents. He has not been arrested, and is thought to have fled to South Africa.

Lukas’ defence lawyer, Louis Karsten, informed the judge president that his client is admitting that she took one of the girls to the house where Pretorius was staying. However, she is denying that she introduced the child to him in order to facilitate his alleged sexual exploitation of the girl, or that she received any payment for introducing the girl to Pretorius.

According to Lukas she was told by Pretorius that he was planning to establish an organisation that would assist poor people in the Swakopmund community. After visiting the house of Pretorius once with one of the girls, she did not take the girl back there again, Lukas said in a pre-trial document filed at the court.

She specifically denied having known that any of the girls mentioned in the indictment supposedly had intercourse with Pretorius. The first time she heard of that allegation was when she was arrested in October 2012, Lukas said.

Nelwembe’s defence lawyer, Tabitha Mbome, told the judge that her client is admitting that she and the complainant in the two charges faced by her visited the residence of Pretorius at Swakopmund. Mbome said Nelwembe’s instructions were that a friend gave her the telephone number of Pretorius after the friend had told her that Pretorius was setting up a charity organisation for children. Nelwembe then went to his house to find out more about the supposed organisation, Mbome said.

Nelwembe is denying that she provided a girl to Pretorius for sexual purposes, or that she encouraged the girl to have sexual relations with him, the court has also been informed.

The trial is continuing.

Judge President Damaseb has indicated that the trial would be held behind closed doors when complainants in the case testify.

Innocentia Nyoni is prosecuting.

Source : The Namibian