WINDHOEK: Safety and Security Minister Nangolo Mbumba has motivated and submitted the ratification of an agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Offenders (TSO) between Namibia and Zambia before national Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.
The agreement was signed in Lusaka, Zambia on 29 March 2012.
Mbumba said the ratification of this agreement will enable for a number of Zambian offenders who are in Namibian prisons and are serving sentences especially for immigration and other petty property offences to be considered for transfer to their mother country.
“This will ease the overcrowding in some of our prison institutions and will also save the government with funds that could have been used by these offenders,” he said.
Mbumba said currently there are about 70 Zambian Nationals in Namibian prisons institutions, the majority of who could be transferred to Zambia as they meet the conditions for transfer.
He stressed that likewise, if there are Namibian nationals who are in prisons in Zambia, they can be considered for transfer to Namibia to continue serving their sentences at home.
The Minister added that the ratification of this agreement will also see for the first time the implementation of the Transfer of Convicted Offenders Act, 2005 (Act No 09 of 2005) which for more than seven years since it promulgation , it has not see any practical implementation.
Acording to Mbumba, during the meeting of the Namibia/Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPC) that took place in Zambia in June 2009, the Namibia Correctional service indicated to the Zambia Prisons service need to have a mechanism to regulate and facilitate the process of transfer of sentenced offenders between the two countires and presented a draft agreement on the TSO.
He said the presentation of the draft agreement was reported to the JPC and it was resolved that, the two services jointly consider the draft and report back at the next JPC meeting.
Mbumba said the Namibian Correctional Service and Zambia Prinson Service, worked on the agreement and the final draft presented to the JPC on defence and security during its meeting that took place in Swakopmund in June 2011.
The JPC in principle adopted the draft agreement and directed for internal consultation process to take place in each country.
According to Mbumba, his ministry has submitted the Agreement to Cabinent in June 2012 where it was considered and the Cabinet approved its tabling before Agust House for ratification.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Peya Mushelenga has supported the ratification of the agreement saying this agreement will be of the benefit to both the public and the government.
He explained that the his ministry have been receiving complaints from the public wants to visit family in Zambia prisons and explaining of the high transport cost involved.
Thus, Mushelenga said this process will cut the cost involved in visiting their love one as they will be transferred to Namibian prisons.
He said the government’s budget will be cut in feeding prison offenders as most Zambians wil be transferred to serve their sentences in Zambian prisons.