Another witness testifies against Hanse-Himarwa as trial resumes
WINDHOEK - The corruption trial of former governor of Hardap Region and current education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, 51, resumed yesterday with another state witness testifying that she demanded to remove the names of non-Swapo members from the beneficiary list for mass housing in Mariental and replace them with names of party members.
Gabriel Marien Castro, the advisor for then Minister of Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Retired Lieutenant-General Charles Namoloh, yesterday testified that Hanse-Himarwa was very unhappy and dissatisfied that her office was not involved in the compilation of the beneficiary list.
“Honourable Katrina was unhappy about the fact that leaders of opposition parties were on the list,” he said.
According to Castro, after he arrived at Mariental on the Tuesday before the handover, he met with his team and officials of the town council where he was briefed on what transpired.
He denied having met with Hanse-Himarwa on any other day prior to the Tuesday and said he was surprised to be summoned to the governor’s chambers for a meeting while he was already informed she was briefed.
According to him, he was informed by the CEO of Mariental Municipality and deputy director Merrow Thaniseb that the governor wanted to see them, without the purpose of the meeting being disclosed to him.
When they arrived at the meeting, Castro said, the purpose became clear immediately as Hanse-Himarwa point-blank said she did not agree with the manner in which the list was compiled and that she did not agree with the names on the list.
She also said she was very unhappy that her office was not consulted and was not involved in the process. Castro further said that he and Thaniseb then explained to her the criteria used in the selection process.
“The Honourable Katrina then told us that what happened in the other regions is not relevant, her commitment is to her region and she feels it is important for her to become involved in issues in her region,” Castro, a Cuban consultant, said.
“She said those people [non-Swapo members] are not getting houses from us.”
He went on to say that Hanse-Himarwa wanted to remove several names from the list, but they later compromised on the two names that were removed.
According to Castro, the discussion was held in a high tone and people were becoming uncomfortable, but as is the culture in Namibia, “when a boss speaks you just remain quiet” and that people were afraid of her because of her strong position.
Hanse-Himarwa stands charged with the offence from her days as Hardap governor, after it was alleged by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that she corruptly placed relatives on a list of housing beneficiaries of the mass housing scheme at Mariental and replaced some original intended beneficiaries during the mass housing project in 2014.
The minister denied the allegation and said in a statement that she was confident of clearing her name in court.
According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment Hanse-Himarwa as the governor of the Hardap Region was supposed to officiate at the handing over of houses constructed under the mass housing project and when the list of beneficiaries was handed to her, she expressed her disappointment because her office was not engaged to be part of the selection process.
Among other things she wanted to know, according to the indictment, who each of the beneficiaries on the list was, whereafter she directed that Regina Kuhlman and Piet Fransman must be removed from the list and replaced by Justine Josephine Gowases and Christiana Lorraine Hanse.
It is further stated that Hanse is married to Davis Joseph Hansen, the brother of Hanse-Himarwa while Gowases is her niece. Hanse then went on and rented out the house allocated to her, the indictment reads. Hanse-Himarwa is free on a warning. The state is represented by Advocate’s Salomon Kanyemba and Ed Marondedze. The trial continues today.
2018-11-13 09:19:02 5 months ago