Monday, April 22, 2024

Botswana fights to extradite Namibia diamond smuggler

Botswana authorities were this week hoping Namibia would uphold their application to extradite Rudolf Katume (30) a fugitive who skipped bail in Botswana before he was convicted of diamond smuggling.

Katumbe was initially convicted by the Maun Magistrate Court on a charge of illegal possession of rough diamonds on September 19 2000.

The Namibian national was caught with 16 uncut diamonds valued t P2 025 while crossing into Botswana through the Mohembo border post.

He was eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

Katumbe was in prison from the time of his arrest on May 20 2000 until a High Court judge granted him bail pending appeal.

His appeal against both his conviction and the seven-year prison term was finalized when another High Court Judge ruled on April 11 2001 that he had been correctly convicted.

That Judge, however, changed the sentence from seven to three years.

Katumbe had become a fugitive from justice in Botswana by the time the appeal judgment was handed down.

Following his release on bail totaling P 5 000 Katumbe left Botswana and returned to the safe refuge that Namibia could offer him.

Magistrate Uaatjo Uanivi, who on Friday last week reserved his ruling on a request from the Botswana authorities for Katumbe to be extradited to Botswana, was expected to announce his verdict this week.

According to the extradition request submitted to Namibia’s Minister of Justice, Katumbe still has to serve an outstanding period of imprisonment of two years, six months and nine days in Botswana.
Katumbe is opposing the extradition.


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