Housing beneficiary testifies in Hanse-Himarwa corruption trial

12 Mar 2019 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 12 MAR (NAMPA) – Regina Kuhlman, a resident of Mariental told the High Court on Tuesday that her name was allegedly removed from the original list of mass housing beneficiaries at Mariental in 2014 on the basis of her membership to opposition political party association.
Kuhlman, a regional coordinator of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) –(formerly DTA of Namibia), said this in her evidence-in-chief at the continuation of the trial of Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa who stands accused of corruption for allegedly allocating houses to her relatives in Mariental during December 2014.
In her testimony, Kuhlman confirmed before court that her name was removed from the original list of mass housing beneficiaries alongside the name of Piet Fransman and replaced with the names of Christiana Lorraine Hanse and Justine Josephine Gowases.
According to Kuhlman, Fransman's name was also removed from the original list of the mass housing beneficiaries for political reasons.
“On 15 December 2014, officials from the Mariental municipality called me to come to their office in respect of my application for a house after which I was told to come back on 16 December 2014 to sign for my housing contract. However, in the morning hours of 17 December 2014, I was again called to come to the municipality, where I met with both former chief executive officer, Paulus Nghiwilepo and former regional councillor for Mariental, Edward Wambo. In that meeting, I was told I will no longer get the house on the basis of my political party association and for the reasons that the Government had allegedly wanted firstly to cater for some needy and disabled people living in the Mariental area,” said Kuhlman.
She said Fransman was also present in the meeting with Nghiwilepo and Wambo.
“I was crying that day after I was told that I will no longer going to get the house. I was crying that day because I expected to get a key of my house. I felt very bad as if I was not a Namibian citizen,” Kuhlman narrated.
Meanwhile, Kuhlman had managed to secure another house through the same mass housing allocation programme in 2015, in which she is now residing permanently.
In the matter, the alleged corruption charge against Hanse-Himarwa relates to the minister’s former duties as governor of the Hardap Region between 2005 and 2014.
At the beginning of her trial in October last year, the 51-year-old Hanse-Himarwa denied committing the offence when she pleaded not guilty to the charge against her.
In a statement presented before court, Hanse-Himarwa said she never used her office or position for gratification when she was Hardap governor.
Former Mariental Mayor, Alex Kamburute in his evidence before court in November last year said Hanse-Himarwa had allegedly wanted the names of two people removed from the beneficiary list.
According to Kamburute, this allegedly happened during a meeting at the office of the former governor in December 2014.
Nghiwilepo told the court that Hanse-Himarwa had allegedly instructed him to remove two names from the list and replace them with names she gave him.
It is alleged that the names of Kuhlman and Fransman were then removed and replaced with the names of Hanse and Gowases.
Hanse-Himarwa on 29 October 2018 admitted before court that she is related to both Hanse and Gowases, but denied ordering that they be added to the list of housing beneficiaries.
Hanse-Himarwa is free on a warning.
Kuhlman will face cross-examination by defence lawyer Sisa Namandje in respect of her evidence on Wednesday.
State Advocate Salomon Kanyemba and Deputy Prosecutor-General, Ed Marondedze are representing the prosecution.
High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg presides over the trial.