Oshana regional commander commissioner Naftal Sakaria says the charges against activist and Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) member Michael Amushelelo have been referred back to the police for investigation and have not been thrown out of court.
Sakaria says the police decided not to detain Amushelelo, but they will investigate further following an incident in which the activist allegedly contravened a court order that instructed him to stay 200 metres from Rani Group shops across the country.
“He was released on a warning that allowed him to go home and appear in court on Tuesday afternoon,” Sakaria says.
Among the charges against Amushelelo are trespassing, damage to property and assault through threatening from various individuals.
“Due to lack of evidence, the case was referred back to us to gather more information and revert to court once they have been gathered, only then can Amushelelo be summoned,” Sakaria adds.
Additionally, he says Amushelelo can only be summoned once a thorough investigation has been conducted by the police and the date will be communicated once the investigations have been conducted.
Amushelelo was arrested at Oshakati on Monday morning after allegedly defying a court order issued by the Windhoek High Court on 22 December 2023. He was released from police custody on Monday night.
On Tuesday, he appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court, where the case was referred back to the police for further investigations.
This comes after Amushelelo attempted to close down the Rani Group of Companies after 84 employees were suspended following their protest about working conditions last year.
According to Amushelelo’s lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, there was no evidence against his client hence the court case has been thrown out.
“Yesterday, we warned the police leadership in Oshana to avoid being weaponised and used for political which-hunts,” Amoomo said in a social post on Tuesday.
On Monday, he said Amushelelo’s arrest is a political witch-hunt as he is not a flight risk.
“If he has violated any court order, he can simply be summoned to court. They rather waste state resources by behaving like the bodyguards of foreign-owned businesses who are exploiting the labour of our people,” he said.
In his application for an interdict last year, businessman Ali Dharani of Rani Group of Companies says he would have lost up to N$8 million per day if the NEFF had closed down his shops over the festive season.
“I estimate that, should the respondents carry out their threat to shut down all my businesses countrywide (particularly in the busiest part of the year in the days prior to Christmas), I stood to suffer a loss of turnover of approximately N$7 to N$8 million. This must be avoided at all costs,” he said in an urgent application filed at the High Court on 22 December against NEFF leaders, including activist Michael Amushelelo.
Dharani said he owns 40 shops countrywide, providing employment to 3 000 people.
Dharani’s urgent application to the High Court sought an interdict to prohibit the NEFF, its leaders Epaphuras Mukwiilongo, Longinus ‘Kalimbo’ Iipumbu, and Amushelelo from continuing with the “unlawful conduct in intimidating and threatening” him, people employed at his retail premises, and customers visiting the premises.
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