Former Oshakati magistrate found guilty of corruption

Former Oshakati magistrate Melanie Theron, who stands accused of fraud and corruption, was found guilty as charged in the High Court here on Thursday.

The former magistrate was arrested on 15 August 2011 on charges of fraud, corruption, bribery and extortion stemming from allegations that she wrongly and corruptly solicited and accepted a number of bribes to withdraw traffic tickets against traffic offenders during her stay at the northern town between February 2010 and August 2011.

Theron, 31, was found guilty as charged in a judgement handed down by High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo on Thursday afternoon.

She was convicted on 16 counts out of a total of 20 charges relating to corruptly and wrongly using her office for self-gratification as well as defeating the course of justice when she abused her office and power as a magistrate to accept bribes to withdraw the traffic tickets against the offenders.

Theron was, however, discharged and not found guilty on the other four (4) related charges after the prosecution could not prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt through the evidence of State witnesses.

In his ruling, Judge Ndauendapo said that the State proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused magistrate has indeed used her office and power for self-gratification when she ordered the withdrawal and cancellation of several traffic tickets while she fully knew that the offenders never appeared in court.

According to the Judge, the various entries made by the accused in the traffic record books were all false entries.

'The version of the accused is clearly false and she was the actual person who made these false entries in the traffic record books, ' said the Judge when he dismissed claims made by Theron that the majority of the traffic tickets were withdrawn and cancelled on the grounds of their alleged defectiveness.

Even though Theron was found guilty as charged, her bail of N.dollars 7000 was not revoked.

The court has instead extended her bail until 19 August 2019 for the presentation of the pre-sentencing evidence before court.

In her testimony before court, Theron said all the evidence presented before court by the prosecution's witnesses who testified against her was not credible and she unsuccessfully wanted the court to disregard this evidence.

According to the State, Theron accepted about N.dollars 6 600 from various people who were accused of traffic offences before police arrest.

Theron is defending herself following the withdrawal of her former lawyer Garth Joseph.

Senior State Advocate SimbaNduna is appearing for the prosecution.

Source: Namibia Press Agency