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Bakang loses round one in multimillion Pula case

Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018


Bakang Seretse has lost with costs the first leg in a multimillion pula money laundering case in which he is implicating the who’s who of this country.

His application was yesterday thrown out with costs by Justice Godfrey Radijeng. In delivering the verdict, the Judge said, “he has not in my view provided an answer or explanation as to the trail of payments that found the basis of the application other than to repeat what was already established by the applicant, the sourcing of the P250 million.”

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on 13 December 2017 applied for an ex parte application against Seretse’s properties and credit account balances, and was granted the application. Seretse had later on December 28, through his attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae approached the court on urgency and applied for the order to be reversed.

But, Justice Radijeng would not entertain his plea. The judge noted in his ruling that the respondent has failed to disturb the applicant’s case, “and I must confirm the interim order granted.”  “The interim order granted to the applicant on the 13th December 2017 in this instant is confirmed,” ruled the judge.  

Judge Radijeng said the respondent had wrongly assumed the proceedings in the instant to be civil forfeiture proceedings. He said it was in this context that the respondent in his argument pursued an approach that sought to attack the application from civil forfeiture application requirements.

“The question in my view in restraint proceedings is not as portrayed by the respondent, that there must be elements of a crime established or the source of the funding and or actors in the trail of the funding…rather, the question is one of the standard of proof or level of evaluation required in such proceedings,” stated the Judge.

Judge Radijeng also noted that in his assessment of the totality of the evidence adduced by the applicant, he takes the view that the trail of transactions that ensued from the disbursement of the P230 million to Khulaco (Pty) which led to a chain of events constituted evidence which viewed objectively may reasonably be believed to constitute offences as indicated by the applicants in their papers.

These, the Judge said, were the alleged apparent conflict of interest by Seretse sitting on the one hand as director at Kgori (Pty) Ltd and at the same time director and shareholder at Khulaco (Pty) Ltd a company in which the government did not have a contract to transact with for purposes of the National Petroleum Fund; the alleged unilateral authorisation of funds from the fund by Kenneth Kerekang; and the alleged appointment of Kgori as the fund managers in the face of the alleged existing contract with the Department of Energy with Basis Points Capital (Pty)Ltd.

“I take the view that the respondents’ conduct and or the entities he represents, may be the subject of one or more offences as set out by the applicant.” In his arguments, Ngakaagae had argued that the transaction founding the disbursement of the said sum to Khulaco was an approved government transaction. He argued that there was no money laundering or fraudulent misappropriate of government money in the sum of P230 million.

He averred that if there was misappropriation of such funds then the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Isaac Kgosi, and Permanent Secretary to the parent Ministry Dr Obakeng and the portfolio Minister Sadique Kebonang would have been charged alongside his clients.

On the other hand, the applicant attorney, Ernest Mosate of the DPP, submitted that the respondents were speaking to the wrong arguments hence failing to recognise that the purpose of the application for identification of tainted property which may be proceeds of or an instrument of serious crime related activity. He said the essence of his application was that there were violations regarding the P230 million in that they were taken outside laid procedures in violation of the statutes and Fund Order and or Penal Code provisions.

The background of the matter is that in the landmark case that Seretse and two other co-accused, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, received over P320 million stolen from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).  The trio was granted bail by the Gaborone Regional Magistrate and will appear in court on January 25, 2018 for mention.



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