Katrina's fall from grace

The former education minister has pleaded for a fine of N$35 000, while the State argued that no special treatment should be shown.

25 July 2019 | Justice

Katrina Hanse-Himarwa's lawyer has pleaded for a fine instead of time behind bars for the former education minister, arguing that she deeply regrets her actions and has already paid a steep price for her crime. This, Sisa Namandje argued, includes vast public scrutiny, in addition to a stiff lawyer's bill and a significant N$300 000 annual pay cut.

However, the State has come out strongly against the court showing any leniency and has asked for direct imprisonment. Arguing in mitigation of sentence yesterday, Namandje told Judge Christie Liebenberg his client wanted to put on record that she “unreservedly expresses remorse and regret and asks for forgiveness”.

Namandje asked the High Court to be objective when considering sentencing, and to show mercy and compassion, despite the public demand for revenge. He added that despite public appearances, and the former education minister's “strong and lively personality”, she was aware of the seriousness of the offence and has expressed regret and remorse.

Liebenberg convicted the 52-year-old former Hardap governor on a charge of corruptly using an office or position to obtain gratification just over two weeks ago, on 8 July.

This was in relation to her time as governor, when she instructed that two beneficiaries of a Mass Housing project at Mariental be replaced by two of her relatives.

Namandje asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence, and instead impose a fine of N$35 000, and if necessary, a suspended sentence as an additional deterrent.

Namandje argued that even before sentencing, Hanse-Himarwa has, as a high-profile public figure, whose political career was in full swing, experienced a “fall from grace”.

He underlined this was a first-time conviction and she deserves, in respect of her “resignation from her ministerial position, her age and other mitigating circumstances” to be given a second chance in life.

He further argued her conviction “came at an advanced age”, after more than three decades in the public service sector.

He further urged the court not to “sacrifice the accused on the altar of retribution and deterrence”, in response to the public outcry following her conviction. Namandje argued that a harsh sentence would cause his client “the gravest economic and physiological harm” to her “dignity, person and feelings”.



Costly price

Namandje put on record that Hanse-Himarwa's annual income took a battering when she stepped down as minister, dropping from over a N$1 million to “just above N$690 000” as an ordinary member of parliament.

Further, her legal bill totalled N$1.4 million, of which she still owed more than N$800 000, due on 1 August.

“The legal bill is a massive financial burden on her shoulders. This is again part of the pain and suffering arising out of her commission of the offence,” he said.

Namandje further urged the court to take into consideration that the “victims” of Hanse-Himarwa's crime were not wronged in the long run. “There was no complete denial of an important part of their lives. There was simply a delay of a month or two,” Namandje argued.

He further pointed out that apart from supporting several children, two of whom are unemployed, and two grandchildren, Hanse-Himarwa is responsible for the care of her elderly and sickly mother. Her husband is also struggling with his health, the court was told.

Moreover, Namandje argued that despite strong societal demands and “vengeance-laden expectations, in regard to sentencing offenders, particularly in this first-ever criminal case involving a cabinet minister”, the court should remain objective.

“We submit the accused should not be harshly sentenced, simply for the purpose of warning others.”



'Watering down'

Deputy prosecutor-general Ed Marondedze accused Namandje of “watering down” the seriousness of the offence committed by Hanse-Himarwa. He argued the offence was committed “because she was in power”.

Marondedze said the directive was a “deliberate and conscious decision and not a sudden temptation”. He further dismissed Hanse-Himarwa's regret and remorse, while referring to interviews she gave after her conviction.

He accused her of showing contempt towards the court's decision to convict her. “In this case there was no remorse. There is no remorse at all.”

He referred to a Namibian Sun article titled 'I have deep pockets', in which Hanse-Himarwa said she has the ability to pay her legal fees.

Marondedze also said Hanse-Himarwa was not pushed to resign and was not fired as education minister.

He also questioned what the nation would say, if the court gave Hanse-Himarwa a lenient sentence.

“They will lose respect in the criminal justice system. If she was really contrite… my feeling is she should have relinquished her National Assembly post to show she is sorry. The National Assembly is where our laws are made, including the law of which she was convicted (sic).”

Marondedze argued further that her actions do not show she is contrite.

“She should play open cards,” he said, while saying there was evidence that Hanse-Himarwa was involved in two fishing companies.

“How much does she make from those fishing companies? The loss of salary of her ministry position is just a drop in the ocean.

She has other sources of income.”



Eyes and ears of govt

Marondedze said further that at the time of the offence, Hanse-Himarwa, as Hardap governor, “was the eyes and ears of government”, while adding this corruption had happened at very high level.

He said what she did tarnished the image of government and the head of state. “She was entrusted and had powers thrust upon her to represent government,” Marondedze added, before saying Hanse-Himarwa had betrayed the trust of the appointing authority.

He said as governor, she was there to serve the people, and was aware her office required transparency and accountability.

Marondedze thus added the State was asking for a sentence “that fits the crime she committed and is convicted off” - a sentence that was fair to society.

“The court should not be influenced by the status of this person. She is a political icon. No doubt. But our law knows no class distinction of offender of any crime,” Marondedze argued. “No special treatment.”

The court has set the sentencing for July 31.



JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Court shoots down NamRights

3 days ago - 11 December 2019 | Justice

NamRights says it will “leave no stone unturned” in its bid to have a High Court ruling overturned, which said that the human rights organisation...

28 years for sex trafficking

1 week ago - 05 December 2019 | Justice

A woman found guilty of human trafficking after luring a young girl from northern Namibia to Okahandja, where the victim was exploited sexually, was on...

Man pleads not guilty to killing girlfriend

1 week ago - 04 December 2019 | Justice

A 57-year-old man pleaded not guilty in the Windhoek High Court on Monday to killing his girlfriend by allegedly stabbing her with a knife at...

'Fishrot Six' festive season release bid today

1 week ago - 02 December 2019 | Justice

The 'Fishrot Six' are set to return to the Windhoek Magistrate's Court today to apply for bail, after a drama-filled appearance Friday in which the...

Zuma's lawyers jet in for Fishrot bail hearing

2 weeks ago - 29 November 2019 | Justice

Two senior South African advocates, who until recently represented former president Jacob Zuma in his corruption case in the neighbouring country, are in Namibia to...

Itula between a rock and a hard place

2 weeks ago - 26 November 2019 | Justice

Commentators says independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula finds himself between a rock and a hard place after an electoral tribunal yesterday dismissed his application...

Late drama as Esau is released

2 weeks ago - 25 November 2019 | Justice

The Windhoek High Court was a hive of drama late yesterday after former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, who was initially denied release from custody in...

Rape suspect pastor denied bail

2 weeks ago - 25 November 2019 | Justice

A Swakopmund pastor has been denied bail by the local magistrate's court, where he appeared on charges of rape, kidnapping and common assault.The 31-year old...

Fervently lawful

3 weeks ago - 22 November 2019 | Justice

Justicia Shipena Beverly #Khita-a Silas was recently appointed as the legal officer in the directorate of legal services at the ministry of justice.Vivacious Beverly,...

Man gets life for killing retired teacher

3 weeks ago - 21 November 2019 | Justice

Keetmanshoop resident Jan Benedictus Fredericks, 29, has been jailed for life for the murder of a retired teacher at the town.He was sentenced on Tuesday...

Latest News

Rundu chaos engulfs Swapo again

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Politics

The same chaos that engulfed the Rundu town council office-bearers election late last year, which dragged on to earlier this year, is once again playing...

Intercape confirms terrifying bus robbery

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Crime

While confirming a terrifying incident in which Intercape passengers were robbed at gunpoint on their way to Harare, the bus company did not answer questions...

Action, not promises

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Opinion

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana's utterances on Wednesday in Walvis Bay, where he addressed the fishing industry, must have come as music to the ears...

Erastus gets CEO nod

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Business

Licky Erastus has been appointment as the new CEO of Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC). Erastus had served as the company's acting CEO since June...

Dam levels still critical

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

While several dams have received inflows following good rains over the majority of the country, forecasts indicate that most parts of Namibia can expect only...

N$100k fine for ivory possession

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Crime

A man has been sentenced to a fine of N$100 00 or four years in prison for illegal possession of four elephant tusks. Bangorogile Motsokwe...

Students accuse Schlettwein of 'sabotage'

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Education

The Students' Union of Namibia (SUN) has accused finance minister Calle Schlettwein of sabotage, saying he is yet to release monies to pay their tuition...

Hundreds of thousands food insecure

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT Namibia’s agricultural sector has been contracting for the past five years and rural households and small-scale farmers have been severely affected, with 700...

Rundu welcomes ACC probe

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

KENYA KAMBOWE Rundu mayor Isak Kandingu has responded to a letter circulating on social media which alleges that the Rundu town council illegally swapped land...

Load More