State wants Education Minister found guilty on corruption

21 May 2019 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) – The prosecution has asked the High Court to find Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa guilty on the grounds that she was responsible for tampering with the list of mass housing beneficiaries to benefit relatives.
Hanse-Himarwa in her ongoing corruption trial stands accused of removing the names of beneficiaries from the mass housing project list in Mariental and replacing them with the names of her relatives in December 2014.
In his submissions for judgement Tuesday, Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondedze asked High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg to find the accused guilty as charged, because she was the person who gave a directive that the original list of 19 mass housing beneficiaries be changed and the names of Regina Kuhlman and Piet Fransman removed.
Marondedze argued that the names of the two victims were removed from the list and replaced with the names of Christiana Lorraine Hanse and Justine Josephine Gowases, on the instruction of Hanse-Himarwa herself and in her capacity as the governor of the Hardap Region at the time.
State evidence presented during trial shows that Christiana Lorraine Hanse and Gowases are indeed both relatives of the accused minister.
Marondedze said all the evidence presented before court by the prosecution shows that the removal of the names of the two persons from the list was a directive of Hanse-Himarwa, adding her decision to remove the two people’s names from the list shows corruption and nepotism.
“She personally caused the changes on the list in order to benefit her family members. She never investigated the changes or irregularities contained in the list, because she was the one who did the changes on the list,” said Marondedze.
According to him, the minister “must be found guilty and very guilty on the charges of corruption”.
Meanwhile lawyer Sisa Namandje, who is defending the accused minister, countered that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt that the minister was indeed involved in the scandal.
He further argued that all statements by State witnesses were false information and “doctored” by investigators of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to suit and benefit the prosecution’s case.
“The statements by State witnesses were manipulated by the ACC investigators… The State witnesses worked in unison and hand-in-hand with the ACC investigators to incriminate the minister in this case,” said Namandje.
During trial, Hanse-Himarwa maintained she did not tamper with or attempt to alter the original list of mass housing beneficiaries in December 2014 when she was the governor of the Hardap Region, as the State is alleging.
At the beginning of her trial in October 2018, Hanse-Himarwa, 51, denied committing the offence or any involvement in the matter when she pleaded not guilty to the charge against her.
In a statement presented before court, she said she never used her office or position for gratification when she was Hardap governor.
State Advocate Salomon Kanyemba is assisting Marondedze.
Submissions for judgement continue on Wednesday.