WINDHOEK - The corruption trial of former governor of the Hardap Region and current education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, 51, is taking a break for a week and will resume on Monday, November 12, with Merrow Thaniseb, the deputy director of housing in the Ministry of Urban Rural Development being the last witness in this session before Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg.
Withstanding a barrage of questions from Sisa Namandje, the legal representative of Hanse-Himarwa, Thaniseb stuck to his guns throughout the cross-examination and told Namandje he stands by what he testified.
Namandje asked the witness what the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) told him when they approached him and he replied they said it was about irregularities with the mass housing allocations.
Namandje repeated his early assertions that the statements of the state witnesses were drafted by agents of the ACC and the witnesses were merely told to sign. This, he said, was because of the similarities in the various statements. He further told Thaniseb that the ACC was searching for any incriminating evidence against his client as they were desperate to charge her at any cost.
Thaniseb however was adamant that he was present when Hanse-Himarwa expressed her wish that the beneficiary list be amended and explicitly said she instructed the CEO of Mariental Municipality – Paulus Nghiwilepo – to remove two names and replace them with names she provided and inform the removed persons.
He further said that he was later that same day informed by Nghiwilepo that he called the two people removed and informed them that they will be part of the next batch of beneficiaries to which they agreed.
Namandje also told Thaniseb that Hanse-Himarwa denies that she had a meeting with Thaniseb at the council chambers and that she only had a meeting with them in her chambers on the Monday and not the Tuesday as he testified. Thaniseb replied that he knows they met with the former governor twice although he could be mistaken with the date.
Hanse-Himarwa stands charged with the offence from her days as Hardap governor, after it was alleged by the ACC that she corruptly placed her relatives on a list of housing beneficiaries of the mass housing scheme at Mariental and replaced some original intended beneficiaries 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 indictment, as the governor of the Hardap Region, Hanse-Himarwa 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 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.
Hanse-Himarwa is free on a warning. The state is represented by advocates Salomon Kanyemba and Constance Moyo.
2018-11-05 09:12:11 6 months ago