• Rundu murder case transferred to High Court
The Oshakati High Court will conduct the murder trial of Castro Domingo, who is accused of strangling a woman and burying her body in a shallow grave at Rundu.
06 July 2020 | Justice
The murder case of Castro Domingo (34) has been transferred to the Oshakati High Court for plea and trial.
Domingo pleaded not guilty to all three counts when he appeared before Magistrate Sonia Samupofu in the Rundu Magistrate's Court on 4 June.
Domingo had earlier confessed to the police that he had strangled Cecilia Deborah Murotwa (26) at Mukwe in February 2018 and then transported the body 200 kilometres to Rundu, where he buried it in a shallow grave.
He stands accused of murder, read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, defeating and obstructing the course of justice, and robbery with aggravating circumstances as he was found in possession of the victim's mobile phone.
The prosecutor-general's decision to transfer the case to the High Court halted Domingo's bail application, which was supposed to be heard this week.
With the results of ballistic and DNA tests still outstanding, the State's case is built on Domingo's confession made shortly after the murder.
The outstanding results led to the case being postponed from February 2018 to 19 May this year.
Domingo was provisionally released from custody when the State was still not ready to proceed with the prosecution in May.
With mounting pressure from the public, the police and prosecution worked around the clock to re-arrest Domingo and revive the case.
Namibian Sun investigated why the forensic results were outstanding and found that the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI) is crippled by budgetary constraints.
According to the NFSI director, Commissioner Paul Ludik, their yearly operational budget for conducting DNA tests stands at N$3.5 million, while they require about N$20.9 million.
Besides being underfunded the NFSI is also understaffed, Ludik said.
“As for DNA tests, we receive approximately 860 cases per annum, and at an average of 2.7 samples per case, the cost of analysis amounts to N$20 898 000 per annum for DNA analysis only. This is against the backdrop of operational budget availability of N$3.5 million,” Ludik said.
Ludik further revealed that their immediate needs at the moment amount to N$198 million.