NAMIBIA: Zim mother accused of murdering daughter wants charge dropped; 9-year-old’s burnt body found in rubbish skip

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By for The Namibian

WINDHOEK: The mother of a nine-year-old girl allegedly murdered in Windhoek three years ago intends to challenge the prosecutor general’s decision to prosecute her in connection with her child’s death.

Defence lawyer Jermaine Muchali, who is representing Zimbabwean Rachel Kureva, informed judge Christie Liebenberg during a pretrial hearing in the Windhoek High Court that Kureva intends to ask the court to review prosecutor general Martha Imalwa’s decision to prosecute her in connection with her daughter’s death.

Muchali also said Kureva’s review application should be done before she answers a list of pretrial questions through which the prosecution is trying to establish her response to the charges she is facing and what issues would be in dispute when she stands trial.

Kureva (40) and two fellow Zimbabweans, married couple Caroline Nkata (39) and Edward Nkata (40), were initially jointly charged with counts of murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice after the partly burnt body of Kureva’s nine-year-old daughter, Natalie Chipomho, was discovered in a rubbish skip in the Rhino Park area of Windhoek on 25 January 2020.

In January last year, the prosecutor general decided that the Nkatas should stand trial in the Windhoek High Court and that she would not continue with the prosecution of Kureva.

Zimbabwean Rachel Kureva

Imalwa changed her stance in January this year, though, after a police investigator recorded a statement made by a 14-year-old witness who allegedly implicated Kureva in connection with events around Chipombo’s death.

Kureva, who was released from police custody after charges against her were dropped in January last year, was again arrested after the decision to recharge her was taken.

She has been held in custody again since her second arrest.

The Nkatas’ case has in the meantime been postponed to await the joining of Kureva as a co-accused in the same matter.

Kureva is charged with a count of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, and counts of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and violating a dead human body.

In the charges faced by the Nkatas, the state is alleging that they murdered Natalie by fatally assaulting her in Windhoek between 23 and 25 January 2020.

At that time, Natalie and her mother, who was employed as a nurse, were sharing a flat in the Rhino Park area with the Nkatas and their children.

The state is alleging that after Natalie had been killed the Nkatas removed her body from their flat, dumped it in a rubbish skip nearby and set it alight in an attempt to hide her identity and interfere with a police investigation into her death.

The couple allegedly tried to flee a day after the discovery of Natalie’s body, but were arrested at a police roadblock between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo.

The Nkatas are to be tried on eight charges: one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, two counts of fraud, and charges of forgery and contravening the Immigration Control Act by remaining in Namibia after the expiry of the employment permit that authorised their stay in the country.

They have been held in custody since their arrest.

Kureva’s case has been postponed to 15 June, when she is due to attend another pretrial hearing.