Fishrot suspect accused of illegal internet connection

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

The prison authority has accused Pius Mwatelulo, one of the suspects in the fishrot case, of having an illegal and unauthorised internet connection in his prison cell.

Deputy Commissioner Veikko Armas, the officer in charge of the Windhoek correctional facility, issued a stern warning to Mwatelulo in a letter dated 18 April 2024.

According to Armas, following the section’s lock-up from March to April 15, Mwatelulo, an inmate awaiting trial, illegally connected his laptop to the internet from within his prison cell at the C-section of the Windhoek Correctional Facility. He achieved this by wiring a cable across his cell window.

“Thus, you are warned that the arrangement between you and the authority and the use of the internet and laptop for your trial preparations only allow you to use the internet in those specific designated areas in the section.

Hence, your specific contact was contrary to the arrangement in place, and you are hereby warned specifically and generally to refrain from engaging in unauthorised conduct within this correctional facility,” said Armas.

He told Mwatelulo that failure to adhere to this warning would result in severe disciplinary action.

In a statement, Mwatelulo declared to the prison authority that the cable in question had been at the cell window since February and through March 2024. He notified the IT team and instructed them to remove it, but they failed to do so.

However, one day, he tried to test it on his laptop, and it was not working. Then, when he tried it the third time, it worked, but the internet was slow.

“The fourth day, I plugged it into the same spot, and it worked for 30 minutes, and after that, it went extremely slow again. I was not feeling comfortable because someone was shouting from outside the window, saying Pius hotspot me. I ignored it, and it was when I decided to put the cable inside my cell,” explained Mwatelulo.

He added that when one of the officers discovered the cable, he confiscated his laptop, and it was subjected to a thorough search, but nothing illegal was found, and the laptop was returned to him.

In December last year, acting judge Moses Chinhengo directed the state to facilitate a request by the Fishrot accused persons to undertake research on their own as part of their preparation for their trial.

Chinhengo further ordered that the suspects must be allowed to have access to Wi-Fi provided by the prison authorities, and if Wi-Fi facilities are not available, they should be allowed internet access by using their own mobile internet dongles during the hours permitted by the prison authorities.

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