An accountant in the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development has told the Windhoek High Court that Basic Education Minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who was Hardarp Regional Governor between 2004 and 2015,
had ordered the removal of two beneficiaries of the Mass Housing Project in 2014 and replaced them with her relatives.
Testifying in court on Monday, Cassius Ndisiro said he was part of a five-member team dispatched to Mariental to verify the legitimacy of the beneficiaries list before 19 houses could be handed over to their owners on 17 December 2014.
Ndisiro said when they arrived in Mariental they were told by the town’s CEO, Paul Nghiwilepo, that two names on the beneficiaries’ list had been removed by the governor and that they would be catered for at a later stage.
Earlier, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Daniel Nghidinua, told the court that when the team from his ministry arrived at the southern town he was called by the Director of Housing in the ministry, Merrow Thaniseb, who told him that the former governor had expressed her displeasure about the compilation of names of people to benefit from the Mass Housing Project.
The PS said the former governor was angry that she had been side-lined in the allocation of houses under the Mass Housing project by the National Housing Enterprises (NHE) because she allegedly knew the “need on the ground.”
Subsequent to the call, Nghidinua drove to Mariental before the handover of the 19 houses could begin.
Together with the then Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Priscila Boois, the Hardap Regional Chairperson, Edward Wambo and Mariental Mayor, Wilhelm Mensah, they held a meeting at the governor’s office to discuss Hanse-Himarwa’s dissatisfaction.
In the meeting, Nghidinua said, Hanse-Himarwa requested that two people who were down the list be shifted up and be the first to benefit while two others had to be shifted down.
Allegations are that the minister indicated that the two, who are said to be her niece and daughter-in-law identified as Christiana Lorraine Hansen, were handicapped and in “dire need of housing.”
Nghidinua said the meeting resolved that those who had been removed would be the first to benefit later and that the handover was to go ahead with these amendments
Hanse-Himarwa told the Windhoek High Court that she did not commit any crime nor did she temper with the list of Mass Housing beneficiaries.
She told Judge Christie Liebenberg that the docket from the Anti-Corruption Commission is full of confusing information.
"There is a desperate attempt to charge me even if there is no evidence I have committed crime," Hanse-Himarwa said.
The case continues on Tuesday and 13 more witnesses are expected to testify.
Hanse-Himarwa is represented by lawyer Sisa Namandje while the State is represented by advocate Salomon Kanyemba.