Elections

 

Judge Moses Chinhengo has ruled that the Fishrot accused will proceed with the plea-taking, even in the absence of Bernhardt Esau's lawyer, Florian Beukes, who is on medical leave until December 22.

Despite the defense's concerns raised by lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji that his decision could be prejudicial, Chinhengo affirmed the decision, maintaining that the plea-taking will move forward.

It was a busy day in the Windhoek High Court as one of the Fishrot accused, Sacky Shanghala, suffered another blow.

Judge Moses Chinhengo refused to hear an application by the former Justice Minister.

Shanghala took issue with Justice Chinhengo's order that the plea and trial continue despite Shanghala, along with some of his co-accused, not having legal representation due to financial constraints.

During his ruling earlier this week, Judge Chinhengo remarked that the accused persons had enough time to sort out their finances and legal representation, adding that there was no surety as to when their financial challenges would be finalised.

Shanghala, in his new application, also sought to address the constitutionality of the appointment of Judge Chinhengo in an acting capacity to the bench.

In papers seen by the nbc, Shanghala argues that the order by Chinhengo to proceed with plea and trial is unconstitutional and violates his rights and those of his co-accused.

He also explains that he is being charged in his capacity as a former cabinet minister and has applied that the government foot his legal costs and that the plea and trial should not continue at the moment until he receives feedback from the government attorney.

Judge Chinhengo informed Shanghala that the court has made a ruling and is in the process of pleading.

Of the 42 counts, only four were given to the accused persons, and some of them informed the court that they were unable to plead, citing no legal representation.

Acting Judge Moses Chinhengo, however, entered a plea of not guilty on the charge of racketeering on behalf of the accused who are not reprobates, including Sacky Shanghala, Ricardo Gustavo, Pius Mwatelulo, and James Hatuikulipi.

In a twist of events, during the plea proceedings, defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji expressed intentions to submit an application seeking the recusal of Acting Judge Moses Chinhengo.

Providing assurance to the judge that the application would be filed on Tuesday for immediate action.

Judge Chinhengo has postponed the matter to next Wednesday.

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Emil Xamro Seibeb

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Emil Xamro Seibeb