WINDHOEK - The corruption trial of Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa (51), is set to start this morning in the Windhoek High Court before High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo with her expected to plead not guilty to one count of corruption.
She will be represented by Sisa Namandje and the state by Advocate Ed Marondedze.
The corruption allegations stem 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 at Mariental and replaced some original intended beneficiaries.
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, was who each of the beneficiaries on the list were, where-after 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 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.
The state alleges that Hanse-Himarwa unilaterally altered the list to favour her relatives, without consulting with the councillors and the selecting team and is thus guilty of corruption.
It is alleged Hanse-Himarwa during the period covering December 15 to 16, wrongfully, unlawfully and corruptly used her office or position as the governor of the Hardap Region, it being a public office, to obtain a gratification for her own benefit or that of Justine Josephine Gowases and Christiana Lorraine Hanse who are related to her as her niece and sister-in-law respectively, in the form of the accused using her power and influence as governor, to prevail over the decision of the team comprising staff members from Mariental Municipality and the then Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Rural Development which was tasked with the vetting and selection of applicants to benefit from the first phase of the mass housing development Program in Mariental.