By Kelvin Chiringa
Two more cases in which education minister Katrina Hanse Himarwa is said to have committed corruption in the Hardap region will soon be brought before the High court for hearing once the current one is done away with, a source has disclosed.
Himarwa is at the moment battling a corruption case in which she stands accused of contravening Section 43 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act whereby the prosecution alleges that she corruptly used her office of governor for the Hardap region to have two of her relatives benefit two houses, in the mass housing project.
Although the State, led by deputy Prosecutor General, Ed Marondedze and her lawyer, Sisa Namandje have submitted their closing arguments, the source told The Patriot that the minister will soon have to answer to charges involving monies allegedly diverted from a Development Trust Fund.
The minister is alleged to have diverted some N$300,000 in 2015 towards the acquisition of shares in a Feedlot company said to be owned by her brother-in-law Stanley Katzao.
“The company was not registered and we did not see any share certificates,” said the source which refused to be named for fear of retribution.
The feedlot is said to not be operational any longer. The source revealed that the Trust Fund was initially launched by the founding father, Sam Nujoma and added that Hardap authorities have already registered a case for the disappeared money.
According to The Namibian, Nujoma pledged N$4,000 on behalf of himself and his family while the Old Mutual Group pledged the highest sum of N$30 000 followed by Namcor with N$20,000.
Further revelations are that Himarwa will also soon face further charges of corruption in a case in which she allegedly removed a businesswoman with the surname Kondjore from a list that was to benefit from a resettlement farm. The Patriot is informed that she put the name of her son, Denzel Hanse, on the list instead.
Is Himarwa a victim of political rivalry?
In the meantime, the minister’s lawyer Sisa Namandje, has suggested to high court Judge Christie Liebenberg, that politicians are making use of the criminal justice system to settle personal scores with Himarwa.
During one of her appearances at court last year, the minister intimated that there were forces that were after her, adding that the matter could have been dealt with outside court. “Politicians have always used the criminal justice system but if it is their allies they ignore it,” said Namandje in his final submissions.
As far as he is concerned, his client has not been equally treated by the Anti-Corruption Commission which he has accused of manufacturing statements to incriminate her.
This according to Namandje, who submitted that Himarwa needed to have a fair trial, has undermined the work of the Prosecutor General.
Some of the statements have also been withheld from the ACC Director General, thereby undermining his ability to handle the matter well. He also said it was not amiss for political office bearers to make decisions that could benefit their cronies and went as far as submitting that Himarwa’s niece Justina Gowases was, in the strict legal sense, not related to her.
According to him, the minister did not use her office to commit a corrupt act as the power to list housing beneficiaries was out of the scope of her governorship office.
“The committee had the power and she could not prevail over them,” challenged Namandje.
If his client is to be found to have corruptly used her office by issuing a directive meant to benefit her relatives, then the team that carried out the order should also be prosecuted, the lawyer further submitted.
Namandje said this was something the state did not want to do.
“If you don’t like it, why do it? Why not go to the ACC right away,” retorted the lawyer adding that it can only mean that the committee was “instigated to do a crime.” He has described the written evidence of the various state witnesses as inconsistent and demonstrated how they differed with what they told court under cross examination.
However, Deputy Prosecutor General Marondedze challenged that Namandje and his client were merely “trying to raise dust on wet soil.” The witness said she changed the list. To say that she never issued a written instruction is trivial. The issue is, did she give a directive, and yes she did. She did not need to type it. The action done by the accused is amplified by the evidence. There is no need to charge (the others) because they were given an instruction,” he countered.
Further cementing his submission, Marondedze said a demonstration was staged in Mariental over the corruption issue.
“She knew before she got charged that there was talk in town that there were these replacements. That is a common cause. So the allegations did not just wake up,” he said.
Marondedze also said it was amiss to say Himarwa did not have any power to direct who benefited from the houses since she was the project supervisor and acted as a link between her region and the line ministry as well as the President.