Hanse-Himarwa denies changing beneficiary list

Hanse-Himarwa denies changing beneficiary list

Education, Arts and Culture Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa continues testifying in the Windhoek High Court today. She is accused of corruption during her tenure as Governor of the Hardap Region.
The Anti-Corruption Corruption Commission is accusing her of replacing names of beneficiaries of government's housing programme with that of her relatives.
The minister has indicated that the local authority council passed a resolution to confirm the list of beneficiaries of the housing project on 17 December 2014.
The State questioned the minister why she didn’t confirm from the then mayor if the resolution taken by the council was valid and can be considered after the council brought the resolution taken to confirm the beneficiaries' list.
This is after the minister said she confirmed the resolution brought forward by the council although she can not confidently say the mayor confirmed it too.
Hanse-Himarwa, however, said she could not have doubted the decision of the council on the resolution taken as a collective body hence saw no need to specifically confirm with the then mayor.
The council resolution served as a confirmation that the complaints of irregularities reported to the Governor's office had been resolved as per the instruction from her office from the meeting of 15 December, two days prior to the official handover ceremony, the minister testified before the court.
“Knowing that they were complaints and knowing it was not my responsibility to investigate the complaints, I did not do anything to that list.
“All was well when we looked at the list,“ she said.
The State asked the minister if she checked the first 19 names of the list she saw on the 15th comparing them to the list she saw the morning of 17 December 2014.
“My role was not to scrutinise names nor study names,” she said.
The State asked why the minister did not provide prove earlier to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) after finding out she was being investigated, to prove her innocence since she is a national leader.
The minister said she did not have any reason to panic over allegations that were not formally brought forward to her office hence only did so after allegations were made public.
“I did not have time to spend on a rumour I knew was baseless,” the minister said.
The state has put it before the minister saying “deep down in your heart you know you are the one who did it”.
The minister responded those are allegations that remain unfounded.
The state indicated to the court that one of the witnesses testified that the removal of a name was discussed at the meeting of 17 December 17 before the handover ceremony.
Hanse-Himarwa in her response said the purpose of the meeting was a briefing on the handover ceremony and not to discuss an issue of any name removal from the beneficiaries list.
Both the witness in question and the then Permanent Secretary confirmed that call in court.
The state further questioned why the defence Council did not deny it when witnesses testified.
She responded that she did not have the platform to have done that at the time.
The minister has told the court that she was shocked to have read statements of other witnesses stating she instructed officials to make changes to the list.
The state reminded the court of a list of witnesses who attended the meeting where the minister allegedly gave directives for the amendment of the list by removing and replacing two beneficiaries.
The state asked the minister why witnesses would tell the court she had instructed them to make changes to the list.
She responded that she has been asking herself the same question but doesn’t know the answer.