Student fined for stealing US$4 000
By Tunomukwathi Asino
WINDHOEK – A Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) student probably has to ensure she does not miss the next Jehovah’s Witnesses gathering, as it appears her faith helped her escape prison.
She was fortunate Magistrate Jermaine Muchali sentenced her to a fine and did not send her to jail for stealing from a fellow member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church, where she lives as an orphan.
Selma Nambi, 21, was convicted of stealing US$4 000 (N$40 000) from Nadia Lourdes Manuel Da Silva, who is also a member of the church, on 8 February this year.
She was arrested on 24 July.
Magistrate Muchali decided yesterday to sentence her to a fine of N$15 000 and in default of payment to spend 12 months in prison.
“I can safely say that you are selfish,” the magistrate said when delivering sentence.
He said the complainant could have used the money to help someone.
The court was informed Nambi used N$5 000 to pay for her tuition, and she spent the rest to pay for printing costs for study material, buying new clothes and textbooks and to eat out at restaurants.
Nambi faced a charge of theft.
She pleaded guilty to the charge.
Nambi stood with her back facing the gallery, and listened attentively while the magistrate spoke. She is majoring in human resources, and the magistrate felt if she were sent to prison, her studies would stop.
She paid back N$10 600 to Da Silva. The magistrate pointed out that Nambi was only arrested in July and some people were wrongly accused.
Nambi represented herself. The hearing began on Monday and continued yesterday.
Prosecutor Verinao Kamahene did not recommend a sentence, and left it up to the magistrate to decide the appropriate punishment.
On Monday, the student wasted no time and pleaded guilty. Her legal rights were explained to her on Monday and she was provided with options whether to get a government funded lawyer through legal aid if she could not afford one.
Nambi indicated that she would represent herself.
“I understand and I will represent myself, I plead guilty,” she said.
“I stole the money, even if I have a lawyer, the facts are that I stole the money,” she said on Monday