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Walvis murder accused wants witnesses recalled

One of the men accused of murdering a Walvis Bay businessman during a house robbery in June 2016 wants three police officers who testified during his trial to be called back to court to answer more questions.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji, who is representing murder and armed robbery accused Panduleni Gotlieb (37), informed judge Dinnah Usiku in the Windhoek High Court yesterday that Gotlieb wants to have three of the state’s witnesses in his trial recalled for further questioning under cross-examination.

After state advocate Basson Lilungwe, who is representing the prosecution in the trial, opposed the application to have the three witnesses called back to court for further testimony, Usiku said she would give a ruling on Gotlieb’s request tomorrow.

Gotlieb and four co-accused – David Tashiya (36), David Shekundja (41), Elly Ndapuka Hinaivali (36) and Malakia Shiweda (35) – are being prosecuted on charges of murder, attempted murder, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances, conspiring to commit housebreaking and armed robbery, and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence.

All of the charges are linked to a burglary and armed robbery during which Walvis Bay businessman Hans-Jörg Möller was shot in the abdomen in his home at Walvis Bay during the night of 16 to 17 June 2016. Möller (50) died in a hospital a day after the robbery.

Möller’s wife, Carol-Ann Möller, was assaulted and injured during the incident.

Testifying after the start of the trial in August 2021, she identified all five of the accused, who are denying guilt on all charges, as having been part of the gang of men who she said broke into her family’s house and robbed her and her husband.

She also told the court her husband was shot by Gotlieb when her husband tried to stop Tashiya and Shekundja, who were assaulting her by repeatedly punching her in the face and over her body, while threatening that they were going to kill her.

The state’s case in the five accused men’s trial was closed in November last year.

After that, Gotlieb’s then defence lawyer applied to have the police officer in charge of the investigation of the case called back to the witness stand, but Usiku refused his application.

The defence lawyer, citing conflicting instructions from his client, withdrew from the trial after Usiku’s ruling.

Lilungwe argued yesterday that Gotlieb was duly represented by a lawyer throughout the trial, and the three witnesses that Siyomunji wants back in court for further questioning have already been “thoroughly cross-examined” on Gotlieb’s behalf.

Two of the police officers who Siyomunji applied to have recalled to the witness stand have testified that Gotlieb told them he had been involved in a robbery at a house at Walvis Bay and that he had shot someone during the robbery.

The officers said Gotlieb made this admission after he had been found with a pistol and ammunition in a bus at a police roadblock between Omuthiya and Ondangwa on 17 June 2016.

Gotlieb’s previous defence lawyer told the two officers that Gotlieb is denying that he made any admissions to the police.

The five accused men have been held in custody since their arrests about seven years ago.