More charges added to Zim couple accused of murdering child and burning remains

Eba Kandovazu

THE Prosecutor General, Martha Imalwa has decided to add seven more charges to a Zimbabwean couple accused of murdering their nine year-old girl Natalie Chipomho, whose remains they are alleged to have burned at a dumping site in Windhoek in 2020.

Caroline Nkata and her husband Edward Nkata, who is the father of the deceased made their first appearance in the Windhoek High Court today on charges of murder, after Imalwa decided to transfer their case from the Magistrate’s Court. The child’s mother, Rachel Kureva, who was initially charged together with two, has been acquitted and set free. Additional charges such as two attempted murder counts, defeating the course of Justice, two counts of fraud, forgery and contravening the Immigration Control Act by overstaying in Namibia have now been addedd.

It is alleged that Chipomho was killed between 23 and 25 January 2020. CCTV cameras caught the suspects transporting her body in a municipal rubbish skip to a dumping site where they burned the body.Prosecution is arguing that this was done to frustrate investigations, to conceal the identity of the victim and to protect the two from prosecution in connection with her disappearance. A security guard discovered the smoldering remains and immediately alerted the police.

At her first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, Caroline confessed that her husband beat Chipombo in her presence at home and the child died after the assault. He forced her to accompany him to the dumping site to dispose of the body, she testified.

The attempted murder charges pertain to an incident in which the accused allegedly assaulted their 11 year old son with a belt and other unknown objects, with the intention to kill him on 20 January 2020. The other attempted murder charge relates to assaults inflicted on Chipomho on 20 January, days before she was fatally assaulted with broom sticks and unknown objects all over her body, according to the indictment.

The state, represented by Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoeff also says that the couple defrauded the Progress Primary School and it’s Principal to the tune of N$6 000 when they lied that Caroline is Chipomho’s biological mother and therefore did not need to pay school fees since Caroline was a teacher at the school.

It is also alleged that the accused defrauded Rocky Crest Primary School by forging Chipomho’s school report from Progress Primary School when they altered the child’s grades.

Caroline, according to the indictment was granted an employment permit for the period of 16 June 2017 to 15 June 2019. Her husband, Edward then entered Namibia to stay with her and the two continued living in the country after the permit expired.

The couple was arrested at the Okakarara B1 road turnoff, as they attempted to flee the country. The police vehicle transporting them after the arrest got into a car accident, in which Edward was injured. He has since been walking with the aid of crutches.

Windhoek lawyers Milton Engelbrecht and Mbanga Siyomunji represent the couple. The list of witnesses, the indictment and summary of substantial facts is yet to be submitted to the Registrar of the High Court, Verhoeff informed judge Christie Liebenberg today. She also indicated that the docket is voluminous.

Caroline is detained at the Dordabis police station while Edward is at the Windhoek Correctional facility in the trial awaiting detainees’ section.

The matter will return to court on 21 April.

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