WINDHOEK - Notwithstanding an onslaught from defence lawyer Sisa Namandje, Mariental Municipality CEO Paulus Nghiwilepo yesterday maintained that what he told the court on Tuesday – in the ongoing trial of education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa - was nothing but the truth.
Nghiwilepo told High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg on Tuesday that in her then capacity as the governor of the Hardap Region, Hanse-Himarwa instructed him to remove two names and replace them with names she gave him.
Describing Hanse-Himarwa as a personal friend and business partner, Nghiwilepo said he felt he had to obey as the instruction was coming from the highest political office in the region.
Yesterday Nghiwilepo stressed that as Hanse-Himarwa was the political head of the region he and the others felt compelled to do as she bid.
He further said that Gabriel Marien Castro, the advisor for then Minister of Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Retired Lieutenant-General Charles Namoloh, told him they had to give in to the demands of the governor or else there won’t be a handover of the houses to the beneficiaries.
On Tuesday he testified that when they met at the governor’s office on the day before the handover was to take place, Hanse-Himarwa went through the list and demanded to know ‘who is this and who is that person?’.
“The governor then stated emphatically that she wanted to make changes to the list,” he said. According to Nghiwilepo, Hanse-Himarwa did not give any reasons for the changes she wanted, but he was later informed by Castro that it was because of political affiliation.
He went on to say that after the meeting he was given a directive by Hanse-Himarwa to go and effect the changes she wanted. Nghiwilepo further said he was uncomfortable with the demands of the governor as it was unusual to replace people that were vetted with people not vetted.
As it was already late, Nghiwilepo said, he only briefed his team the next morning on the changes Hanse-Himarwa wanted and they asked a lot of questions, but he told them there is nothing they can do as the instruction came directly from the office of the governor.
He went on to say that they then called the people that were removed from the list and explained to them the governor removed their names because of their political affiliation. However, Nghiwilepo explained, it was pledged to them by Castro that they will benefit from the next mass houses and were taken to where they were constructed and showed the houses.
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, 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, 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 were, 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 advocates Salomon Kanyemba and Ed Marondedze and the trial continues today.
2018-11-15 09:31:02 9 months ago