The high profile cases involving enormous amounts of money by very prominent persons continue to be in and out of court as the State continues to drag its feet.
The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), have been accused by Busang Manewe, a defense lawyer in the Carter Morupisi case, for the tendency of rushing to court with half-baked cases. “There is a growing trend in this Republic where people are dragged to court on half-baked cases,” he said. The past two years have seen high profile cases being registered with the courts by the State but there have been little breakthrough in the matters.
MANEWE WANTS MORUPISI CHARGES DROPPED
Morupisi has been charged on three counts of abuse of office, receiving bribery and money laundering. Morupisi, through his attorney Manewe, made an application to have his charges dropped, claiming that the State is never and would never be ready. Broadhurst Regional Magistrate dismissed the application pleading with the Defense Counsel to be patient and allow the Prosecution time to gather evidence. The Prosecution had argued that the reason the investigations were slow was because they began when Morupisi was still holding the Permanent Secretary to the President position. They also argued that corruption cases take time to unleash and find enough evidence.
Prosecution informed the court that DCEC still needs time to obtain statements from witnesses in South Africa, emphasizing that the State will be ready to commit the accused persons to trial in February, 2020. Manewe rubbished the Prosecution’s arguments and asked to be put on record. “I can assure you when we come back in 2020, the State will ask for more time and we will wait another year while investigations continue. The State is simply not ready and should withdraw the case and bring it [to Court] when they are ready,” said Manewe.
Manewe further said: “It is not normal that a properly directed authority will arrest a charge they are still investigating. One can imagine the harm caused to the accused person’s careers by the DPP. I don’t know why we are in court, I cannot even tell my client why he is in court.”
NGAKAAGAE SAYS THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS TO BLAME
The National Petroleum Fund’s P250 million scandal involving Bakang Seretse, Mogomotsi Seretse, Kago Stimela, Sadique Kebonang, High Court Justice Zein Kebonang and Kenneth Kerekang, has been before the Magistrate’s court for over two years. The Prosecution has amended the charge five times in a row, however the matter is still not ready for trial. The Kebonang brothers-the accused in the matter- have taken it upon themselves to file an application with the High Court to have their charges dropped.
In an interview with this publication, Ngakaagae expressed deep disappointment with the judicial system. The outspoken Counsel said that it is a great concern that criminal trials are done at the accused person’s expense. He elucidated that such cases exhaust the accused person before trial starts and by the time it gets to the High Court for trial, all their resources would have been exhausted.
“Magistrates seem unwilling to take the state to task, they are seemingly guilty. They allow the state to bring half-baked cases before them. They have reduced the courts to investigating forums,” he alleged. Ngakaagae is worried that prolonged cases with the Magistrate may lead to unfair trials, indicating that no matter how much they may blame the Prosecution, the Magistrates are solely to blame. He pointed out that efforts to appeal to the High Court have yielded no results and it will take another two years to be listened to.
“We are suffering at the hands of the justice system. They are the biggest problem in all these cases, and I am not only looking at NPF but also including the ‘Butterfly’ case and many others. I agree wholly with Manewe. The Judicial system is on the same side as the prosecution because they are comfortable with the constant tendency by the ‘Prosecution of investigations are still ongoing’. They allow them to be comfortable with delaying processes and we know how slow our judicial system is,” said Ngakaagae.
BUTTERFLY FURTHER REMANDED
In yet another popular case involving one Directorate of Intelligence and Security agent, Welheminah Maswabi code name “Butterfly”, who was arrested on three charges of financing terrorism after transferring from an offshore account the sum of P29 million to former DIS spy Chief Isaac Kgosi, in January this year. The now famous Butterfly also faces an alleged criminal offense of falsifying her names to Lorato Hilton and alleged possession of different passports.
On Thursday morning, the inquisitive public thronged the Broadhurst Magistrate Court to witness the most talked about Butterfly as she appeared for her mention under heavy escort. Earlier this month, the High Court denied Butterfly bail. The state argued that the accused might be a flight risk. Both the public and the court were left trembling when they learnt that the accused has over US$390 million in her personal bank accounts.
The state pleaded for the accused to be further remanded in custody as they await the investigating team who are supposed to be outside the country gathering evidence. Butterfly will be back in court on the 27th November 2019. A close source has reliably informed this publication that Butterfly’s arrest will see more arrests in the near future. Some of the high-ranking opposition members might get a taste of the bitter medicine.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.