NIMT security guard first on murder scene
09 April 2021 | Justice
A Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) security guard yesterday testified he was the first person to come across the murder scene of his “bosses” about two years ago.
Festus Muayambuatji has been employed at NIMT Arandis as a security guard since 2010.
He testified as a State witness in the Windhoek High Court in front of Judge Christie Liebenberg as the double murder trial against Ernst Lichtenstrasser continued.
Lichtenstrasser, a former lecturer at the NIMT Tsumeb campus, is accused of murdering Eckhart Mueller (72) and Heimo Hellwig (60), the executive director and deputy director of NIMT at the time, in Arandis on 15 April 2019.
Muayambuatji said he was on duty on the night before the murder and did not notice anything out of the ordinary during the night. He started his shift that Sunday (14 April) at 19:00 and said it was quiet throughout the night.
On the morning of 15 April 2019 around 06:30, he was sitting in the coffee room waiting for the “bosses” to arrive so that he could go home.
“I heard three to four individual sounds coming from the main tar road. The first sound I heard I thought that it might be a tyre that burst, because there were a lot of cars on the main tar road leading to Arandis. The second sound I thought that maybe the police were chasing someone and shooting at them.”
Muayambuatji then went to the dining hall where he found the matron supervisor at NIMT Arandis, Getrud Noabes, and asked her if she also heard the sounds.
“She did and I told her that I will go and see what it was.”
He told the court that he was walking in the direction of the main building when he saw a Mercedes Benz that belonged to one of the directors.
“I saw people lying down on the ground and walked closer and saw them lying in blood. It was our directors. When I looked at them, I saw that they were shot. I could see gun cartridges next to the bosses.”
He said he did not count how many cartridges there were, but they were many.
Muayambuatji did not see anyone when he approached the bodies or even hear a car driving away, and he alerted a colleague to call the police and an ambulance.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Albert Titus specifically wanted to know about a phone call Muayambuatji received at 05:14 on the morning of the murder.
Muayambuatji said that he had forgotten about the call.
Titus read the statement aloud in court: “In the morning at around 05:14, I received a call from an unknown number and the person just asked me if I am not going to Karibib for driving school class. But I am not doing any driving school classes. This person sounds like a white person or a coloured. But that is the only thing he asked me”.
Muayambuatji gave the number to the police to assist with the investigation.
According to Muayambuatji, the police phoned the number at the scene and were informed it was a certain Mr Gariseb who had been, since his retirement, giving driving classes.
Muayambuatji testified he had never had cellphone contact with him and does not know how Gariseb got his number.
The case has been postponed until 5 May for continuation of trial. Deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef is representing the State.