AFTER hearing arguments for and against a lenient sentence for Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, former education minister convicted on charges of corruption, Judge Liebenberg announced that he will hand down the sentence on 31 July 2019.
Both the State and the defence counsel for Hanse-Himarwa completed their arguments for mitigation and aggravation of sentencing on the first of the three days set down for the matter in the High Court.
The deputy Prosecutor General during arguments for aggravation of sentence requested direct imprisonment for the convicted person to set an example for future offenders and stated that a fine of only N$35 000 would trivialise the matter.
He argued that the judge Christie Liebenberg should not be swayed by the remorse the convicted person offered during mitigation of sentence on her behalf by her legal representative. State Ed Advocate Marondedze stated that the convicted person showed no remorse throughout her trial even after she was found guilty.
Advocate Marondedze argued that the people will perceive it as a mockery of justice if a lesser sentence is meted out for former education minister because of various contemptuous comments she made throughout her trial. He pointed out that her remarks with regards to the Court as an institution after she was convicted for corruption was especially contemptuous.
He argued further that Hanse-Himarwa betrayed the trust of the Head of State and central government because she was supposed to be the eyes and ears of senior politicians and government institutions when she committed the crime she was convicted for.
Advocate Marondedze stated that the convicted person resigned from her position as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture out of her own volition and that no mercy should be shown because she is a Swapo Member of Parliament. With regards to the financial losses the convicted person incurred as a result of the trial and the large sum she still owes her lawyer, Advocate Marondedze argued that Hanse-Himarwa is on record for stating in public that she has ‘deep pockets’.
He informed the court that being a Member of Parliament was not the convicted person’s only source of income. Evidence by the Chief Executive Officer of the Mariental Town Council, Paul Ngiwilepo during the trial showed that she has shares in two fishing companies and that they are business partners. He also referred to the bank account that was opened on her behalf by a group of the convicted person’s friends and said it shows further contempt for the justice system of Namibia.
The former Minister of Education, Arts and Culture was found guilty on a charge of corruptly using her position as Governor of the Hardap Region for her own gratification. The charge stems from Hanse-Himarwa tampering with a mass housing beneficiary list at the time of her tenure as regional governor in 2014.