PG explains missing dockets case (Namibia)
Roland Routh, New Era
September 21, 2022
Prosecutor general Martha Imalwa has responded to articles published in the
New Era and The Namibian about the trial of a Chinese businessman, Hou Xue
Cheng, and his Namibian co-accused Hamutenja Hamutenya, whose cases were
struck from the court roll recently.
The reason the charges on dealing in controlled wildlife products were
dismissed was that neither the witnesses nor the docket was before the
According to the PG, the information contained in the articles was
She explained that a special backlog court was set up to redress the
backlog in the regional court, and a magistrate and prosecutor were
identified and dedicated to running the special regional court.
As a result, she said, all the old criminal cases were transferred to the
special court, and the dockets and charge sheets had to be transferred
between the courts.
Unfortunately, she said, the docket for Cheng and Hamutenya was not
transferred to the special court at the time the matter was supposed to be
heard, and when the special prosecutor asked for a remand to trace the
docket and the separation of trial, as two of the original accused
absconded and another passed away, the presiding officer refused upon
pressure from the defence.
After inquiries were made about the docket, it was discovered that the
docket was still with the original prosecutor, and a summons was
immediately issued and forwarded to the Namibian Police to ensure the
accused answered to the criminal charges.
The accused are to return to court on 7 November to face their charges.
She further said the reason the docket was not submitted timeously is now
subject to an internal investigation by her office.
Hou, fellow Chinese citizen Sha Zhiwei, Indian national Rajaiyah Kumar and
Hamutenya were arrested in June 2014 after they had allegedly been caught
dealing in ivory in Windhoek.
Another Namibian George Mashala was arrested on the same charge at the end
of July 2014, but he passed away.
The warrants of arrest for Sha and Kumar that were issued in July 2016
after they absconded were extended.
They both vanished after being granted bail of N$20,000 each.
The State has charged all five of the accused with dealing in four elephant
tusks with a combined weight of 54 kilogrammes, valued at N$598,000, in
Windhoek on 11 June 2014.
Hou, Kumar and Sha are also charged with two counts of possessing
controlled wildlife products without a permit.
In respect of those charges, the prosecution is alleging that the three men
were in possession of a cheetah skin and a leopard skin in Windhoek on 12
June 2014 without having the required permits to possess the skins and that
they also had seven zebra skins, a pangolin skin and a stuffed leopard head
in their possession at China Town in Windhoek on 11 October 2014 without
having permits to possess those wildlife products.