Namibia

Magistrate wins defamation case against accused

A Namibian magistrate has been awarded damages of N$20 000 after an accused, appearing in court before her, handed up a document in which he defamed her. Among other claims, the document, hand-written by the accused, said she was paid by the family of the complainant in the criminal case before her. The magistrate then brought a defamation action in the high court. Now she has won her case and the judge who heard the matter ordered that if the man who defamed her didn’t make her a written apology, the damages award would jump to N$30 000.

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Oshakati magistrate, Helen Ekandjo, has more than 20 years’ experience on the bench. She might even have thought that she had seen it all – but when David David appeared before her in October 2021, it sparked a novel situation, one that has ended up in the high court with a successful defamation action.

Former payment officer sued after Namibian national student funds go missing

When money in a Namibian national student assistant fund went missing, siphoned off into the bank accounts of someone who was not registered as a beneficiary of the fund, alarm bells rang. An internal investigation pointed to a payments officer being responsible for the fraud, but he resigned before a disciplinary hearing could be finalised. The fund then sued the former employee and this case has begun in the high court, Namibia.

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Of all people in need of help, students dependent on grants must be among the most vulnerable. So, when someone is alleged to have stolen from the fund that underwrites students’ studies and their living expenses, the resulting case ought to cause more than usual interest and curiosity.

Namibian judge calls out police, army, impunity for assaults on the public

The Namibian police – long criticised for arbitrary brutality towards members of the public – have come in for some strong rebukes in a new decision by the high court. Dealing with the damages claim of a woman who was assaulted in an incident where she merely came out of her home to see the cause of a commotion, the court has slammed an ‘intolerable’ situation involving ‘prevalent’ assaults by police and members of the defence force on members of the public in Namibia.

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The case of Jane Owoses might cause outsiders to scratch their heads because of the assault she suffered at the hands of police, for no good reason. But for those who live in Namibia, or who read the judgments of the courts there, it’s part of a long line of cases involving police who act violently towards members of the public and who are never held individually accountable, even when the case results in a damages award.

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