WINDHOEK - The corruption trial of former governor of the Hardap Region and current minister of education Katrina Hanse-Himarwa is set to be postponed this week to a new date.
This was revealed last week when the trial came to a halt after the testimony of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director-General Paulus Noa.
Noa was at pains to explain the procedure the ACC follows when it investigates instances of corruption. He told Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg that after an insinuation was made that irregularities took place during the allocation of mass houses at Mariental in 2015, he immediately launched an investigation into the matter.
After the investigation that took almost a year was completed and he received the report back from the investigator, he referred the docket to the Prosecutor General (PG) with three names to be possibly prosecuted on corruption charges. These were Hanse-Himarwa, Edward Wambo, a regional councillor and the former mayor of Mariental Alex Kamburute. However, he said after having the docket in possession for almost two years the PG decided to prosecute only Hanse-Himarwa.
Noa further told the court that the duty of the ACC is only to investigate allegations of corruption and not to prosecute, which he said is the duty of the PG’s office. He further informed the court that as the director of the anti-graft body, his duty is to determine the facts of each case, whether enough evidence exists to sustain a charge of corruption, and in this instance he found that such evidence does exist.
During cross-examination by Sisa Namandje, the witness denied that the case against Hanse-Himarwa is a fabricated one and that the ACC orchestrated a concerted effort to incriminate Hanse-Himarwa. He said that his office merely did the investigation and forwarded their findings to the PG who was the one that decided to prosecute.
Hanse-Himarwa, who was again dressed to the nines in a red outfit with matching headscarf, is charged with the offence of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act during her days as Hardap governor, after it was alleged by the ACC that she corruptly placed relatives on a list of housing beneficiaries of the mass housing scheme at Mariental and replaced some originally intended beneficiaries, during implementation of 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. Previous state witnesses testified that Hanse-Himarwa wanted the two recipients removed because they belonged to opposition political parties.
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 advocatess Salomon Kanyemba and Ed Marondedze.