By Independent Foreign Service

Windhoek - Miss Namibia, Leefa Shiikwa, has been stripped of her crown because she owns another piece of jewellery - a wedding ring.

According to her contract, you have to be a miss. A Mrs misses out.

The ministry of home affairs broke the news to the pageant organisers on Wednesday after they had spent a week following up investigations into "marriages of convenience".

The organisers said they were presented with documentation from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, proving that Shiikwa, a University of Namibia student, had been married before entering the contest.

The pageant's national director, Connie Maritz, said a decision had been taken to "terminate her contract and withdraw her title as Miss Namibia".

She said the title would remain vacant until the crowning of the new Miss Namibia on May 20.

All contestants have to be single, and pageant finalists enter into a contract containing a statement to that effect, according to the organisers.

This conforms to identical requirements for participation in both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.

Shiikwa, 23, got married to Angolan national 25-year-old José Luis Silva de Oliveira at Okahandja on October 15, 2004, in a private, civil ceremony at the local magistrate's court. Home Affairs officials discovered the marriage last week and undertook week-long investigations to verify the information.

The motive behind this investigation was to find out whether this was a marriage of convenience.

There have been reports that foreign nationals sometimes marry Namibians in the hope of getting permanent residence and employment.

This has become a very common trend in the country, which has been unearthed by immigration officials.

There has been no official indication that Shiikwa's marriage was irregular in any way.