STATE Prosecutor Antonia Verhoef argued in court today that Ernst Lichtenstrasser knew he had to relocate to Keetmanshoop or lose his job.
He was supposed to report on duty at the NIMT southern campus on the day of the murder, 15 April 2019.
Letters exchanged between double murder accused Lichtenstrasser and NIMT management shows he was given a notice of transfer which he rejected, and later given an option to either be transferred or his services terminated.
The letters of communication issued to Lichtenstrasser by NIMT, as read into the court record, indicated that the accused was initially supposed to report for duty in Keetmanshoop on the 1st of April 2019. After submitting a medical reason he was then given an opportunity to only report on the 15 April.
In his response, Lichtenstrasser disputed the claims by the state and offered that the only issue he had was relocation costs. He was invited by then NIMT boss and one of the murder victims, Eckhart Mueller, to discuss his financial situation. He didn’t go to meet Mueller. When asked by Judge Christie Liebenberg why he didn’t go, Lichtenstrasser said he “just didn’t think about it.”
He confirmed that he had only received an offer of N$2 500 from NIMT for accommodation, but that he also needed fuel money.
The state argued that the accused is being untruthful because there is nowhere in the letters exchanged between the accused and NIMT where he showed a willingness to transfer. The state further submitted that the only trip Lichtenstrasser planned is the alleged trip to the desert on the 14th of April 2019, a day before the murder incident occurred.
Lichtenstrasser, on the other hand, said he had not anticipated the trip to the desert, but that this only happened after a quarrel with his wife.
He testified that he initially wanted to meet his friend Jason, but he ended up in the desert to meditate, subsequent to the quarrel with his wife.
“My trip to my friend Jason was not a social visit, but for a specific purpose that had to do with NIMT,” Lichtenstrasser said.
It was his testimony that he had documents that he needed to discuss with Jason and his doctor. He pointed out that the meeting with Jason was about a presentation, employment policy, ACC docket, nepotism and mismanagement of funds at NIMT.
Judge Liebenberg postponed the case to 24-28 April 2023 for continuing cross-examination. The accused is remanded in custody.