Eba Kandovazu

CONTRADICTIONS in the witness statement of a man who was suing the Namibia Defense Force (NDF) for injuries he sustained after he was allegedly assaulted by soldiers during operation Hornkranz late last year, have led to the unsuccessful N$1 million lawsuit.

High Court Judge Orben Sibeya today dismissed Tuteni Petrus’ lawsuit with cost, saying there were inconsistencies in his initial statement and evidence in chief when he testified in the dock. Petrus alleges he was assaulted by soldiers on the night of 31 December, 2020, after they pulled him out of a taxi.

In his particulars of claim, Petrus indicates that he was instructed by soldiers to walk towards a riverbed while in pain and subsequently lost consciousness and collapsed. He says one of the soldiers instructed him to stand up from the ground and walk towards the riverbed and he refused and the soldiers walked away. Petrus says it was at this stage that he took out his phone and recorded the registration number of NDF.

Judge Sibeya says that the phone used to record was not submitted as evidence. The judge, in his ruling also says that at some point, Petrus mentioned he was subjected to torture by six or more police officers in his witness statement, but did not mention any police officers when he testified.

“The contradictions referred to above in the evidence of the plaintiff and the averments in the particulars of claim put a dent in the plaintiff’s evidence. One of the crucial aspects of the evidence of the plaintiff is the time of the recording of the registration number of the NDF vehicles. The evidence is sketchy on the event that preceded the recording of the registration numbers. Did the plaintiff walk until such time that he became unconscious and fell to the ground before the recording or did he refuse the instruction to walk and was left standing when NDF members left the scene just before he recorded?,”Judge Sibeya remarked.

Petrus was suing government for bodily injuries, pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma. Freddy Kadhila represented government. Kadhila denies that NDF soldiers were at the scene, or that a mini road block was put up on the night in question. According to Petrus, the soldiers said he was arrogant when he told them about his rights.