Three Zimbabwean nationals accused of murdering a nine-year-old girl in Windhoek four years ago face a further five months in custody before the start of their trial.
The three accused – Rachael Kureva (41), who is the mother of the girl that was killed and married couple Edward Nkata (40) and Caroline Nkata (40) – were informed in the Windhoek High Court on Friday that their trial is now scheduled to start on 24 June.
The trial was due to begin before judge Philanda Christiaan on Monday last week, but did not commence after Kureva decided to dismiss the lawyer that the Directorate of Legal Aid instructed to represent her.
The directorate has in the meantime instructed defence lawyer Joseph Andreas to represent Kureva, the judge was told on Friday.
With Andreas not available on dates previously set aside for the trial, the three accused are now set to go on trial on 24 June.
Their trial is also scheduled to take place during the week from 15 July, the week of 12 to 16 August and from 2 to 6 September.
The Nkata couple and Kureva are being held in custody pending the start of their trial.
They are accused of murdering Kureva’s daughter Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho in Windhoek between 23 and 25 January 2020 and of trying to hide the killing by placing her body in a rubbish skip and setting it on fire.
The state is alleging that the girl was assaulted at a flat in the Rhino Park area of Windhoek, where she lived with her mother, who was employed as a nurse, the Nkata couple and the couple’s children, from September to December 2019.
It is also alleged that she was not given any medical assistance, despite her having visible injuries as a result of the assaults.
The state is alleging as well that after the assault in which she was fatally injured, she was placed in a plastic tub in an unconscious state and left to die in a garage at the flat.
After her death, her body was removed from the flat, dumped in a rubbish skip nearby and set alight, it is alleged as well.
The body was found on 25 January 2020. The state is alleging that Kureva, the Nkatas and their children spent the evening after the discovery of the burnt body at an apartment Kureva was renting at a shopping mall in Windhoek.
The next day, the Nkatas allegedly fled Windhoek with their children, before the police arrested them at a roadblock between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo.
The three accused are due to be prosecuted on 10 charges, including counts of murder, attempted murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, failing to provide adequate medical assistance, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, fraud and forgery.
The state is alleging that, in addition to the assaults on Natalie, they also assaulted an 11-year-old boy between September 2019 and January 2020.
The Nkatas alone are further accused of contravening the Immigration Control Act by remaining in Namibia after an employment permit that authorised their stay in the country expired in June 2019.
Defence lawyers Milton Engelbrecht and Mbanga Siyomunji are representing Caroline and Edward Nkata, respectively.
State advocate Ethel Ndlovu is representing the prosecution.
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