SWAKOPMUND - Ex-convict Fanie Nanub is seeking justice for spending almost a decade more than his initial sentence in prison.
Nanub currently 63, claims an oversight from the Ministry of Safety and Security and the Namibian Correctional Service had him serve 20 years instead of serving 12 years and 9 months for stock theft.
He was 38-year-old when he was sentenced in 1998 and he was only released on 6 July this year. According to Nanub, he was supposed to be released in 2007.
Nanub who served his sentence at the Windhoek Central Prison told New Era yesterday that he was arrested for stealing six cattle along with two others prior to his sentencing in 1998.
“Prior to that I had an alias name, Jan Plaaitjies under which I served from 19 September 1990 to 1995 for motor-vehicle theft. For that I was sentenced 6 years of which three years was suspended. I committed my second crime just five days before my probation should have lapsed,” he said. He was given a heftier sentence than his co-accused as he was a repeat offender. The other two got sentences of 1 year and N$3000 respectively.
Nanub says he only got a fine of N$300 or extra three months for an offence he committed while in jail.
“I knew I was supposed to be released in 2007, but upon enquiry I was told I need to serve three more years for violating my probation. I didn’t argue with the prison system and those three years turn into more agonising years,” he said.
In fact, Nanub was one of the 10 prisoners that lodged a case against the Ministry of Safety and Security, Namibian Correctional Service as well as the Windhoek Central prison in 2013, for serving more than one sentence after being convicted and sentenced by various Namibian courts, for various offences. The prisoners wanted to have their sentences consolidated.
Interestingly, Chief Judge Petrus Damaseb in 2015 in the High Court of Namibia, while he was still the high court judge, indicated Nanub was only serving one sentence when the application was lodged.
“However, it seems the applicant Fanie Nanub alleges, as part of the consolidated application, that the respondents wrongly computed his sentence in that he is made to serve a sentence including terms of imprisonment which do not arise from his conviction and sentence but belonged to someone else, one Jan Plaatjies,” the 2015 judgement of Damaseb reads.
It also states the alleged sentence was being administered as that of a habitual criminal, which he is not. The respondents stated in their papers that the sentence in respect of this applicant had been correctly recorded and that Fanie Nanub and Jan Plaatjies is one and the same person, the latter name being an alias.
Damaseb in his 2015 findings had stated it is obvious that there is a factual dispute which does not fit in with the proposed stated case.
“If Nanub wants to have that dispute resolved, the parties must approach the registrar to have the matter assigned to a managing judge who will give directions for the hearing of oral evidence to resolve the dispute,” Damaseb said in his 2015 judgement.
Nanub says he has been consulting with various legal experts and was advised to take legal action for spending more time in jail than he should have.