By Risco Lumamezi
KATIMA Mulilo Regional court has acquitted the local business tycoon, Mr. Philip Oppermann,owner of Katima Brick making who shot his worker on December 7, 2006.
In a case 42/12/06 which has dragged on since 2006 without so much as going beyond simple mention. He has been out on bail of N$20,000 which he paid cash after his arrest. His bail is not known on who granted it to him shortly after his arrest for killing his worker Mr.Pius Matengu Liwena , this paper did not establish yet from the court register on who granted a bail to Mr.Oppermann as there’s conflict on who is who between the Nampol‘s Criminal Investigation Department and the court prosecutor at the time.
According to the court verdict, ruled by Katima Mulilo Regional Court magistrate William Kasitomo on August 15, the accused Oppermann, an employer of the deceased was declared innocent to all charges of the crime.
In the court register, public prosecutor Mr. Jatiel Mudamburi told Caprivi Vision that “the accused pleaded that he acted in self defence, court ruled that there was no evidence to rebut his defence since they were only two, accused and deceased when offence was allegedly committed.” explained the state prosecutor.
However, a concerned family member who opted anonymously expressed concerns on the case saying the rule of law was not respected as since from the start of the case the accused received special treatment, he is therefore appealing for the court to review the judgement that “ there’s still injustice in the administration of the courts, how can a prosecutor tell the police to release the criminal over the phone… we have seen that some are arrested and locked up in custody for not paying maintenance even if they afford to pay the bail but they are forced to be in police cells” he said .
“ we are still not clear on the case, because the accused mentioned earlier in his first appearance that he killed the deceased by mistake and now its contradicting he said it was self defence if it was then he should show his wounds …. He find the deceased in the guard room because he was on duty working not in the storeroom, then the case was supposed to be the culpable homicide” stressed a family member.
He further said it was hard for the family members to listen and witness from the last judgement as there was no member of the public allowed in court.
“It was only the accused in court, and I made means to enter since i’m a law enforcement officer in uniform then i entered”.
It is alleged that Mr.Oppermann used his pistol to shoot and kill Mr.Liwena whom he found sleeping on duty at his business site in the early hours of 7 December 2006. Mr. Liwena, (36), died later in Katima Mulilo State Hospital from head injuries allegedly inflicted by Mr. Oppermann’s gun shots.
NamPol arrested Mr Oppermann on 7 December 2006 and he made his first brief appearance on 7 December 2006 and was granted bail.
His second appearance was on 13 December 2006, his third appearance on 15 December 2007, the latter which he did not attend resulting in the case being postponed to February 4, 2008, which he did not appear in court followed by postponements on April 1, 2008, 18 July 2008 and his last appearance in the Katima Mulilo district lower court was on 6 October 2008 on which was told by the retired magistrate Rachel Sakala to appear on 16 February 2009 when it was transferred to the Katima Mulilo Regional Court.
Meanwhile, a closed member of the deceased told this paper that a postmortem failed to be conducted by Dr.Simasiku Kabanje of the Katima Mulilo State Hospital at the time due to arguments among the family members of the deceased’s body was then referred to Rundu State hospital where postmortem was conducted, this paper did not get facts on who conducted the postmortem in Rundu.
“ Why did he get his bail out fast, because the investigator of this case said he was not informed? , still more again on 15 December 2007 he was supposed to appear in court but did not go and was seen at the boarder of Zambia, wearing a T-Shirt and short where as we family members went in court why didn’t they put a condition of his passport and we used to see with other people that if thy miss a date in court ,warrant of arrest used to be issued we need equal justice” said family member who opted anonymously.