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New witness maintains ex-governor tampered with housing list

2019-03-12  Roland Routh

New witness maintains ex-governor tampered with housing list

WINDHOEK - Another member of the team that was responsible for the selection of the beneficiaries of the mass housing scheme at Mariental in 2014 testified yesterday that education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, 51, unilaterally removed two names from the final list of beneficiaries and replaced it with two names of her own choice.

Domingos Matesu, a community development officer of the Hardap Regional Council, told High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday that after they finalised the list of beneficiaries, the chair of the selection committee, Merrow Thaniseb, told them he would take the list to the regional councillors and to the governor, the latter being Hanse-Himarwa at the time. 
He further said that although he did not physically met with the councillors or the governor, he did not hear any disquiet about the list until the next day when he was informed that Hanse-Himarwa was not satisfied with the list of beneficiaries and wanted it changed. 

Facing a barrage of questions from the minister’s lawyer Sisa Namandje during cross examination, Matesu stood his ground and repeatedly said he was not part of any meeting with either the councillors or the governor where the list was discussed. 
He was further adamant that none of the councillors was unhappy about the list, except the governor. Namandje also wanted to know from Matesu whether the statement he signed was a fabrication by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigators to incriminate Hanse-Himarwa, but the witness maintained that everything in it was what he told the investigator. 

Namandje then wanted to know from Matesu if he was aware that there was a concerted effort by the ACC to incriminate Hanse-Himarwa by any means necessary, to which he answered in the negative. 

Namandje further asked Matesu if he was aware of a cover-up at the regional council for alleged irregularities which included the frame-up of Hanse-Himarwa, but again the witness denied any knowledge of such.  

Hanse-Himarwa is charged with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act. It is alleged that she corruptly used her office for gratification. She denied guilt at the start of her trial and has put the onus on the state to prove the allegation against her. 

The charge emanates from 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 original intended beneficiaries 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 The trial continues today and Hanse-Himarwa is free on warning. The state is represented by Advocates Ed Marondedze and Solomon Kanyemba.

2019-03-12  Roland Routh

Tags: Khomas
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