By: Kelvin Chiringa
Corruption accused minister of education Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has finally come face to face with the Anti-Corruption Commission Director General, Paulus Noa, in court this week Thursday.
The minister is being tried on accusations that she corruptly used her office to influence the awarding of houses in her region as a governor which saw her sister-in-law and niece benefiting in the mass-housing program at the expense of others.
Noa showed up in court to answer to her counter-accusations that the ACC’s investigation was marred by irregularities from scratch.
Another of her accusations is that the then ACC agent, Enersto Esterhuizen, had deliberately cooked up statements to incriminate her during the course of the investigation.
Himarwa’s issue with “The Investigation”.
The minister has, during the trial this week, raised a point that the ACC had especially targeted her person when at first two other people were part of the probe.
These are, a counselor identified as Edward Wambo and ex-governor Alex Kamburute.
Noa was also grilled by her lawyer on why the statements which had incriminating evidence against her were similar in wording.
Himarwa’s conclusion so far is that, this testified to the effect that: the statements were cooked, that the witnesses colluded to pin her down, that the ACC agent made them to give a version that matched what he wanted or that the witnesses were intimidated.
“On the similarities, Esterhuizen (The ACC agent at the time) acknowledged them. Surely that must be striking to you,” lawyer Sisa Namandje pushed.
He said he could not assume that the statements were replicated or that there was collusion.
“I have no information that there was any intimidation or that officers were placing (in the statements) their own information. But you showed me the similarities, I will take it as such,” he said.
He also admitted in court that the similarities in the statements was something he was only realising in court.
Noa told a nearly packed court room that the corruption watch-dog commenced its investigation on the then governor after “allegations got reported in the media of residents in Mariental removed from a list of houses”.
“It became a matter of public concern and the ACC initiated an investigation to see if there were any truth that some people were being discriminated against in favour of others that time,” said Noa in his opening testimony.
He said that the evidence they collected showed that “someone had used his/her power”.
However, Himarwa has said that the decision by Noa to refer the matter to the Prosecutor General together with the charge of corruption was carried out in an unlawful manner, in contravention to the provisions of an ACC Act.
Noa defended his office saying he only complied with a section of the Act which says that the Director General can refer a matter to the Prosecutor General when satisfied of its merits.
“The procedure is very simple. Once a decision to investigate is made, an investigating officer gathers the evidence based on the allegations and the Director General considers if the matter has merits to be handed over to the Prosecutor General for prosecution,” he said.