From fighting Apartheid to federal prison

    Co-founders of social work agency sentenced in cover up of starvation death

    A judge handed down stiff prison sentences to the co-founders of a social service agency in connection to the 2006 starvation death of a 14-year-old Philadelphia girl. A Federal jury convicted the two defendants of fraud for failing to provide care, and engaging in a cover-up.

    Sixty-one year old Mickal Kamuvaka grew up in Namibia under South-African Apartheid rule. She was the first woman in the country to earn her doctorate. But on Thursday she was led away in handcuffs after a judge imposed at 17-and-a-half year sentence. Kamuvaka did not speak but several colleagues and academics spoke of her meager beginnings during the sentencing hearing.

    Assistant U-S Attorney Bea Witzleben said she doesn’t know what motivated Kamuvaka.

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    “Whatever beginnings she had at this point in her life, she was quite capable of turning her back on these very needy children and abdicating her responsibilities even to the point of letting children die.”

    Her co-defendent Soloman Manamela was sentenced to 14 years. Manamela became a political refugee as a young man due to his anti-Apartheid activities. He became a journalist, and then moved to the United States to study at Lincoln University.

    Manamela’s attorney Paul Hetznecker says his client continues to be stunned by his own role in Kelly’s death.

    “He was not the kind of individual who set out to commit fraud. It’s kind of a duality here. He worked tirelessly on the part of people in need for all of his adult life.”

    Both Manamela and Kamuvaka plan to appeal the sentences.

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