Con man sues government for N$5 million
08 September 2020 | Crime
A Hardap prison inmate and South African citizen convicted on multiple charges of fraud has filed a N$5 million lawsuit against various authorities claiming malicious and wrongful prosecution related to charges of illegal entry into Namibia.
Adriaan Jacobus Pienaar (59) filed the lawsuit in August last year while serving an effective five-year prison term in the Mariental state prison.
This is not Pienaar’s first round within Namibia’s legal system.
In his court papers, Pienaar writes that he was “illegally deported” from Namibia in 1996. He claims that he returned to Namibia in 2009 to “come and exploit business opportunities” in the country. He claims that he informed immigration officials of his previous deportation, and was granted a legal entry permit into Namibia.
In the wake of his return in 2009, Pienaar was accused of various scams across the country. In 2018, he was found guilty on 26 counts of fraud and 10 counts of doing illegal business on a visitor’s permit in Namibia.
These convictions related to incidents stemming from 2009. He was given an effective two-year jail term, with his six years served behind bars before his conviction taken into consideration by the judge.
Last year, in another fraud case stemming from 2009 scams he perpetrated, he was found guilty of an additional seven counts of fraud, and his prison term was extended by an effective three more years.
In 2014, during a failed High Court bail bid, a judge underlined that Pienaar was also wanted in South Africa where a warrant of arrest had been issued. The details of those charges were not clarified.
The N$5 million civil action filed by Pienaar in August last year cites four defendants - the prosecutor-general, prosecutor Marlon Adams, the Namibian government and the minister of safety and security.
Pienaar claims that he was unlawfully arrested in 2013, while already behind bars, on charges related to his immigration status.
He claims this was a malicious action designed to prevent him from obtaining bail in the multiple other legal matters he was facing.
He claims the illegal immigration charges deprived him of his liberty at the time and that the officials lacked sufficient evidence to pursue the charges against him.
His court papers claim that on 2 May 2017 the charges against him were dropped.
Pienaar alleges he was held in custody for three and a half years without reasonable cause.
In response, the defendants submitted a plea in which they note that Pienaar was not arrested but merely charged with the offences, “as he was already in custody as a trail awaiting prisoner on other charges” in connection with fraud cases on which he was subsequently convicted.
They deny he was deprived of his freedom as he was already in custody and facing more than 44 counts of fraud at the time. They stress that even if he had never been charged with illegal entry into Namibia, he would have still been a trial-awaiting prisoner.
Moreover, they note that the actions against Pienaar were not unlawful and that as a South African citizen he had ignored instructions not to return to Namibia after he was deemed a “prohibited immigrant”.
Instead, Pienaar returned to Namibia and conducted business without the necessary work permit.
The court was also informed that the discharge of the charges against Pienaar does not indicate that the prosecution was malicious.
Instead, the discharge of the charges was due to insufficient evidence, which could only be determined at trial as the case docket contained sufficient evidence.
Court-ordered mediation took place in January but discussions failed to reach an agreement.
The case came before High Court judge Nate Ndauendapo last week for a status hearing, and no new court date has been announced.