The Directorate of Public Prosecutions yesterday failed to secure former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his South African business-woman associate Bridgette Motsepe as State witnesses in the controversial case involving Welheminah Maswabi, otherwise known as “Butterfly”.
High Court Judge Mothobi this week finally granted Maswabi bail after a tussle in court by his Defense Attorneys Unoda Mack and Uyapo Ndadi. Maswabi was given bail under condition that she does not interfere with state witnesses amongst the witnesses Maswabi’s attorney Ndadi revealed that the State had included South African business woman Bridgette Motsepe, former President Ian Khama and South African businessman Prince Mokgatlha.
Ndadi says they objected because the State cannot implicate the two in their case and later want to include them as their State witnesses. Khama and Motsepe are alleged to be involved in the controversial Butterfly case. Khama already testified against the state in a written affidavit through Maswabi’s attorneys.
Both Khama and Motsepe have dismissed allegations levelled against them and Maswabi as nonsensical. The documents allegedly show that Khama and Kgosi funneled more than $400-million to countries including Indonesia, South Africa, Britain, Scotland, the United States and Hong Kong with Maswabi’s help.
In his written affidavit he denies ever instructing the Bank of Botswana whilst serving as the President of Botswana, to open any special unit accounts. He further denied any knowledge of instruction by Kgosi instructing Bank of Botswana to open any account. “I expect in any banking environment or in any financial institution, instructions of the nature alleged by Hubona must necessarily be recorded for, among many reasons, audit evidence. It would therefore be very easy for the State to obtain evidence of such instruction and disclose it to the court.”
Khama warned the Court in his affidavit-that in support of which application he is advised- that his affidavit will be used, the court should know that Mr. Jako Hubona’s conduct of fabricating evidence is actually his personality and character trait. Hubona has allegedly according to Khama, once fabricated evidence by adding extrinsic content to a witness’ sworn statement under a criminal case that was before the Regional Magistrate for the Gaborone Magisterial Region.
Jako Hubona is the investigating officer at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in the matter. Maswabi will once again appear before court on the 27th of November 2019. The state allege that in June 2008, Khama instructed Botswana’s central bank to open three secret accounts and deposited in excess of P908-million (US$90 million) in one, P700 000 000.00 ($70-million) in the second, and P592 million ($60 million) in the third.
Maswabi is charged with financing terrorism, falsifying her names to Lorato Hilton and allegedly using different passports. Earlier this week the State had asked the court to give them time to file opposing papers against the bail application, however in an unexpected turn of events fortnight to the application hearing the state filed a non-opposition notice for bail abandoning the position that they had previously held.
Meanwhile Mokgatlha who is implicated in the alleged is accused [in an affidavit filed by the State in the prosecution of intelligence operative, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi] of partnering with Kgosi in a company that allegedly received multi million dollars from Botswana. Mokgatlha however had said he is the sole signatory of Kgetha Pty Ltd and that he has never met Kgosi or Maswabi. Prosecutors however argue in court papers that Kgosi became a signatory of Kgetha on the 12th of February 2019 with the help of a banker known as Mpule Konopi at Standard Bank. Prosecutors further say Kgetha’s account No. 200904299 was credited with $48 million on the 21st of February 2019.
In an exclusive interview with this publication Ngakaagae accused the DPP of settling political scores. He pointed out that it is worrisome that the State has been unable to deny evidence levelled against them by the applicant, ‘The state is losing the DPP’s creditability, and it has become professionally doubtful. Rushing to charge Butterfly and being unable to defend their position so early in the case. Whereas the pressure coming from? The DPP must begin to assert their independence. They are on a head long rush to please politicians.”
SA Banks deny knowledge of accounts
South African commercial banks, Nedbank and Absa, have vehemently criticized state evidence against one DIS agent code named “Butterfly” or Welheminah Maswabi in a case in which she is alleged to be responsible for P4.2 billion that went missing at the Bank of Botswana. The case also implicates former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and former DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi. Khama has since disposed an affidavit in support of Maswabi rubbishing the State case and registering a ‘come get me’ attitude.
Welheminah Maswabi was earlier last month arrested on three counts; financing terrorism (on account of claims that she transferred from an offshore account the sum of P29 million to former DIS spy Chief Isaac Kgosi, in January this year); possession of different passports and falsifying her names to Lorato Hilton. Upon her arrest, Maswabi made an application with the Gaborone High Court for bail which was denied without doubt, as the State found her a possible flight risk.
The State brought laden evidence against the accused after the court was told that the accused had an enormous sum of P360 million in her different personal accounts. Maswabi- in her personal capacity was also allegedly accused as one of the signatories of Blue Files (PTY) Ltd.’s Royal Bank of Scotland, a bank account held in S.A facilitated the commission of an act of terrorism by transferring an amount of 950000. 00 American Dollars to Isaac Seabelo Kgosi, who earlier this year upon his arrest threatened to commit acts of terror against Botswana.
The State brought before courts bank statements that showed how the money was transferred from on offshore account to another. They further sought with the court to be given time to seek legal assistance for admissible evidence which will be used during trial. This publication is in possession of affidavits from the alleged banks denying any knowledge or trace of the alleged bank accounts.
In their opposing affidavit, Nedbank states that “the opposing affidavit references accounts in the names of Blue Files (Pty) Ltd and Fire Flies (Pty) Ltd, are non-existent accounts. After conducting a search on our Nedbank systems, we have been unable to find any accounts in those names, nor any accounts with the mentioned account numbers.” Absa Bank also denied having any record of any account with designated account numbers nor account names. They further inquired that the document obtained by the State as evidence does not appear as an Absa generated document.
One of the investigators engaged by Maswabi’s legal representatives, Johaan Minaar has also revealed in a report possessed by this publication that the emails used by the State as evidence against the accused are also fraudulent, based on the vast differences between the attached email and those which are relied upon by the High Court. The report alleged that the messages attached as evidence by the State appear to be fraudulent, as they could very easily have been produced by a word processor such as Microsoft Word, in order to provide veneer of authenticity to those emails which are relied on in the High Court.
The investigation company pointed out that unless the original electronic version of the email messages set out as annexures to the High Court application can be produced and authenticated, the annexures have no evidentiary values presented as they are presented to the relevant Tribunal in isolation as the original source data/document is not available for verification, further scrutiny and examination.
Upon establishing whether or not Royal Bank Scotland, Blue Files Inc. and Fire Flies were South African registered companies, the investigating team could not positively verify the entities. They however stated that they conducted searches on two public registries, namely Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in South Africa and Dun & Bradstreet (a similar registry in Botswana) and the search strings submitted to conduct such queries were as follows; Royal Bank, Blue File and Fire File.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.