Eba Kandovazu

HEARING dates in a matter in which one of the Fishrot suspects, Mike Nghipunya, is challenging the constitutionality of a portion of the Criminal Procedure Act, will be determined on 28 October.

This follows a case management today in the Windhoek High Court. Nghipunya, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of State-owned National Fishing Corporation (Fishcor), specifically targets section 61 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 as amended by section 3 of the Criminal Act of 1991, which deals with the denial of bail for an accused person because of the interest of justice or the administration of justice.

Nghipunya wants the court to set aside portion of the Act containing the words “it is in the interest of the public or the administration of justice”, that these words be declared unconstitutional, null and void and of no force of law and effect. The matter will be heard on an urgent basis.

According to Nghipunya, the words place an unreasonable limitation to his rights contemplated in Article 7 and Article 12 of the Namibian constitution. Nghipunya, whose intentions are to apply for bail, also requests the court to consider his bail application without the words ‘it is in the interest of the public or the administration of justice’, should the court refer the section back to Parliament for amendment. Should the application fail, Nghipunya wants the court to order that the respondents, Attorney General and Prosecutor General, pay his legal costs.

The Minister of Justice is also cited as a respondent in the matter. Today, High Court Judge, Thomas Masuku, ordered that the respondents file their answering affidavits on or before 7 October. Nghipunya was subsequently ordered to file his replying affidavit, on or before 15 October. His heads of argument are to be filed on or before 20 October, Judge Masuku directed.

The respondents are to file their heads of arguments on or before 25 October. Nghipunya is represented by Windhoek lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, while the respondents are represented by Advocate Neliswa Tjahikika, from the office of the Attorney General.