Interpreter issues could leave man linked to Phala Phala robbery off the hook in unrelated arms case

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There is no Oshiwambo interpreter available for Urbanus Shaumbwako at the Western Cape High Court.
There is no Oshiwambo interpreter available for Urbanus Shaumbwako at the Western Cape High Court.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • The arms case of a man named in Arthur Fraser's Phala Phala affidavit has stalled.
  • There is no interpreter available for the case.
  • If the issue isn't resolved by the next court date, it could be struck off the roll. 

The arms case of the Namibian man that former spy boss Arthur Fraser implicated in the controversial robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala game farm is teetering on the brink of being struck off the court roll. 

This is because there is no Oshiwambo interpreter available for Urbanus Shaumbwako.

According to the prosecutor, the interpreter who had been sworn in for the case became unavailable and uncontactable. Eventually, they established that she had returned to Namibia ill.

READ | Phala Phala raises legitimate suspicions about money laundering, says Thabo Mbeki

Apparently, she was the only Oshiwambo interpreter available in the Western Cape, so the Department of Justice is going to outsource one from another province. 

Shaumbwako's lawyer, Reon Heckrath, asked that the postponement be marked final, and it was.

Magistrate Vanya Botha said sternly:

This case has been coming for some time now.

She noted that at Shaumbwako's earlier appearances a mother-and-son team translated, and asked where they were. 

"It is a 2021 case. The incident occurred in 2020. So, the court will grant a final date."

The accused was arrested for allegedly speeding away from a roadblock in Table View. The State alleges that a bag full of guns was found in his car.

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His lawyer stated that while Shaumbwako was in custody, the Hawks tried to question him about the Phala Phala robbery without legal representation and asked him to confirm or correct details in Fraser's statement. 

The case has been postponed to 20 April.

Usually, matters are struck off the roll if the reason for the delay is not resolved by the final date.

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