ACC investigator colluded with witnesses in Hanse-Himarwa's case-Namandje

13 Mar 2019 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 13 MAR (NAMPA) - The initial investigator of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Fanuel Ernesto Esterhuizen, testified in the High Court on Wednesday, in a case where Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa stands accused of corruption for allegedly allocating houses to her relatives in Mariental during December 2014.
Esterhuizen, who was in charge of conducting witness interviews and producing statements for the ACC during the investigation into the case, faced stiff cross-examination by defence lawyer Sisa Namandje.
“I interviewed witnesses, wrote down notes, typed out the statements based on my notes, brought the statements to the witnesses to go through the statements, made changes where there was a need, printed out the statements which the witnesses read through and signed,” Esterhuizen said.
He added that he did not type up witness statements verbatim but the information contained was as he received it from the interviews conducted.
Namandje said in using different words from the witnesses, Esterhuizen was obstructing the course of justice.
Namandje also highlighted similarities across witness statements including exact dates and times when witnesses signed, opening sentences and the same age of witnesses.
“You tailored this statement because you wanted a certain kind of evidence against the accused,” Namandje added.
He accused the initial investigator of having either colluded with witnesses or placed allegations in the statements to incriminate Hanse-Himarwa.
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.
She denied the charges.
It is alleged that the names of Regina Kuhlman and Piet Fransman were removed from the list of beneficiaries of the mass housing project and replaced with the names of Christiana Lorraine Hanse and Josephine Gowases, both relatives of the accused.
Hanse-Himarwa is free on a warning.
State Advocate Salomon Kanyemba and Deputy Prosecutor-General, Ed Marondedze are representing the prosecution.
High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg presides over the trial which continues on Thursday.