AT the resumption of the corruption case of convicted former Minister of education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, for submissions before sentencing, her defence team presented to the court her legal bill in excess of N$1.4million as a mitigating factor.
Defense lawyer, Sisa Namandje suggested to high court Judge Christie Liebenberg that his client should not be send to prison as punishment or to make an example of her, but should rather get a fine in the amount of N$35,000, coupled with a wholly suspended prison term.
Namandje also informed the court while presenting mitigating factors that Hanse-Himarwa still owes him N$837,133.95 out of the total N$1,418,788.95 that he billed her for taking on her case, which has to be settled by 8 August 2019.
“To send her to prison for a period of 6 months for rehabilitation is a punishment. She already has a huge legal bill that she is struggling to pay off, on top of that, a fine will be a deterrence. My client should not be sentences harshly simply for the purpose of warning others,” said Namandje.
The defence council opted not to call Hanse-Himarwa to the witness stand, but instead placed on record her personal circumstances for purposes of mitigation of sentence.
Namandje informed the court that the defence has also prepared brief and concise heads of arguments that will be handed up after general submissions on the context of matter and the circumstances under which the offense committed was made.
Namandje told the court that in 1987, as a teacher, Hanse-Himarwa married a now retired businessman and farmer.
The now 52-year-old Hanse-Himarwa worked her way up to head of Department and eventually School Principal before becoming a councillor and rural councillor of Mariental.
She was eventually appointed Governor of Hardap.
She remains an ordinary member if the national assembly. Upon her resignation, she lost benefits and remuneration as an office bearer, such as her over N$1 million per annum salary.
Her allowance has been reduced to that of an ordinary member of parliament.
Namandje also told the court that his client continues to support her four children; the first-born is reportedly unemployed, the second born a medicine student, the third child is awaiting study opportunities and the lat born is currently in tenth grade.
She also takes care of her grandchildren and her mother, who suffers from a cardiac condition.
“From a perspective of a passive and objective observer, not only one person should suffer with a legal bill which is more than her annual salary. Others should also be brought to book<” Namandje told the court, while making reference to the mayor of Mariental, CEO and others who were part of the meeting where the list of housing beneficieries was changed.
He also told the court that Hanse-Himarwa committed an offense 28 years after being in public office.
The state has indicated to Judge Liebenberg that it also does not intend to call any witnesses while presenting its submission of arguments in aggravation of sentencing, which will start at 14h15.