Windhoek-Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa made her first appearance in the Windhoek High Court yesterday morning, where she is to face one count of corruption.
Her case was allocated to Judge Nate Ndauendapo and postponed to May 29 for the fixing of trial dates. Lawyer Sisa Namandje indicated that he would represent the 51-year-old minister, while Advocate Ed Marondedze would represent the State.
The corruption allegation stems from her days as Hardap governor in 2014, after it was alleged by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that she corruptly placed relatives on a list of housing beneficiaries at Mariental and replaced some originally intended beneficiaries.
The minister has denied the allegation and said in a statement that she was confident of clearing her name in court.
According to the summary of substantial facts in the indictment, Hanse-Himarwa, as the Governor of the Hardap Region, was supposed to officiate at the handing over of houses constructed under the Mass Housing Project and when the list of beneficiaries was handed to her, she expressed her disappointment because her office was not engaged in the selection process. Among other things, she wanted to know, according to the indictment, who each of the beneficiaries on the list were, where after she directed that Regina Kuhlman and Piet Fransman must be removed from the list and replaced by Justine Josephine Gowases and Christiana Lorraine Hanse.
It is further stated that Hanse is married to Davis Joseph Hansen, the brother of Hanse-Himarwa while Gowases is her niece. Hanse then went on and rented out the house allocated to her, the indictment reads.
The State alleges that Hanse-Himarwa unilaterally altered the list to favour her relatives without consulting with the councillors and the selecting team and is thus guilty of corruption.
It is alleged that Hanse-Himarwa, during the period covering December 15 to 16, wrongfully, unlawfully and corruptly used her office or position as the Governor of the Hardap Region, it being a public office, to obtain a gratification for her own benefit or that of Justine Josephine Gowaseb and Christiana Lorraine Hanse who are related to her as her niece and sister-in-law respectively, in the form of the accused using her power and influence as Governor of the Hardap Region to prevail over the decision of the team comprising staff members from Mariental Municipality and Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, which was tasked with vetting and selecting applicants to benefit from the first phase of the mass housing development programme in Mariental.