Former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa convicted on one charge of corruptly using her office for gratification has vowed this is not the end after Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg dismissed her application for leave to appeal her conviction in the Supreme Court. She was convicted last July by High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg and sentenced to a fine of N$50 000 or 24 months imprisonment and a further 12 months suspended for five years on condition that she is not convicted of corruption during the period of suspension.
Telling reporters after the ruling outside the High Court to wait and see and that she will come back when questioned whether she will petition the Chief Justice and she struck a defiant pose.
Judge Liebenberg struck her appeal from the record after he found that her explanation for filing the application late was not reasonable and acceptable.
He said the possibility that another court may come to a different conclusion than his ruling on the interpretation of the law is not sufficient to justify the granting of leave to appeal.
The State raised an objection to the late filing of the application and said that her reasons are flawed, as were her arguments on the merits of the case.
Prosecutor Ed Marondedze argued that it is not whether the Supreme Court may give a different conclusion of the law that what this court did when adjudicating the matter, but to show that the court misdirected itself or law or facts, or both.
In this respect, he said, the approach by Roux to seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation and guidance in this matter is unjustified.
South Africa’s Advocate Barry Roux SC instructed by Murorua, Kurtz and Kasper Inc. who argued on behalf of Hanse-Himarwa during the hearing for leave wanted the High Court to grant the leave in order for the Supreme Court – Namibia’s Highest Court – to give guidance on the implications of the sections of the Anti-Corruption Act (ACA) that governs the charges that the former education minister faced.
While Roux had no qualms about the judgement of Liebenberg, he did question the approach the judge took in reaching his conclusions.
According to Roux, the finding of Judge Liebenberg that Katrina abused her power when she ordered the removal of two names from the Mariental Mass Housing List in 2016 and replaced it with two of her family members was not factually correct as she did not have the power to do so.
“The abuse of power found by this honourable court, namely the demand/insistence by the applicant that two person who campaigned against Swapo be removed from the housing list and replaced with two other persons, did not fall within her office or position in a public body,” Roux argued.
Judge Liebenberg reiterated that he already found in his judgment on the conviction that Hanse-Himarwa was not vested with the power to affect the amendment of the list of beneficiaries as she did and exerted her immense power as governor over the officials and compelled them to amend the list as per her directive.
The evidence clearly established that this was solely brought about because of the power vested in her office, a fact she had made clear to them when saying that contrary to what the approach was in other regions, they were now in her region where things are done her way, the judge emphasized.
This, he said, was a wilful and goal directed decision taken by Hanse-Himarwa, which brought her actions within the ambit of the relevant section of the ACA.
2020-02-04 07:31:38 | 17 days ago