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Defense attorneys warn DCEC, DPP

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.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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