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P29 million ‘Butterfly’ in her own words…

Welheminah ‘utterfly’ Mpheong Maswabi  writes: “All the facts deposed to herein are, save as otherwise provided, within my personal knowledge, information and / belief and are true and correct in every respect.

Where I make legal submissions, I do so on the basis of legal advice I received from my attorneys, which I verify believe to be true and correct. I also make reference to what I have been told by my attorney Phatshimo Mphetolang, who has deposed to a confirmatory affidavit.
I am an adult female of full legal capacity, presently held at the Women’s Prison at the Village Gaborone, where I am remand prisoner, otherwise I am ordinarily resident in Gaborone, plot 60407, block 7 Gaborone where until my arrest and detention I lived.

I am employed by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services as a senior intelligence officer. I bring this application to seek the reliefs set out on the notice of motion. In particular, I beseech the court to rescind and set the Remand order issued on the 18th October 2019 by court a quo. The basis for the challenge stems from a violation of my sacrosanct constitutional right to legal representation.

On the 17th of October 2019 at around 1515 hours, I was in staff meeting at my work place when I was abruptly summoned out of the meeting by investigating officer who indicated that I am under arrest and that they had a warrant of my arrest which empowers them to take me away into custody. They immediately took away my personal belongings, in particular my hand bag which contained my mobile phone, house keys, car keys and my wallet that contains my bank cards and national identity cards.

At that point I requested to contact a family member and my attorneys and I was informed that I will get a chance to contact them after I have been charged. I was then ushered into a police into a driven at a high speed to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) in Gaborone. On our way there I insisted on talking to my lawyer and family member. Even upon arrival at the CID I reiterated my request to make contact with my attorney or any member of my family. I was vehemently denied the opportunity to do so. Instead, I was told that I am a difficult person and that they were forewarned about my difficult disposition. They didn’t say by who.

I was kept at the CID for questioning form the time we arrived until 2000hrs and the entire time I was grilled with unending questions by several officers among the being Mr Mashabile, Mr  Mabona, Mr Gaotingwe, Mr Hobona and Ms Seretse. Afterwards I was taken to Naledi Police Station where I was put in a holding cell overnight. Even at that point I requested to contact my lawyer or family member to no avail.

I was not surprised at the refusal by the Police because when I arrived at Naledi Police Station, the above officer who handed me over to the police officers were strictly instructed, in my presence and hearing, that I should not be assisted with anything. More specifically not to be given access to a phone or have any contact with anyone outside Police station.

 On the morning of the 18th October 2019, at around 0730hours, I was taken from Old Naledi Police Station by the investigating officer, I was taken to my work place where a search of my office was conducted as well as a my personal motor vehicle albeit without search warrant.
Afterwards, I was then immediately whisked away to Broadhurst Magistrate Court. Even on my way to court and at court, I made the request to talk to my lawyer, It was refused. When we arrived inside the court room that is when I was serve with a copy of charge sheet dated the 17th October 2019. Immediately afterwards, court was in session and the proceedings began. The magistrate was ushered into the courtroom and the matter was called up by the Court bailiff.

It is crucial to note that the proceedings by the magistrates were forced to halt momentarily as I was still reading the charge sheet as I was only having sight of it then. When court began, I openly made a request to call a lawyer so that they can represent me. Instead, the prosecuting officer summited that the matter is one which required to be held in camera/ private and away from the public. I then inquired as to whether this excludes the attendance of my attorney and I did not get an answer and instead the matter nonetheless proceeded
I also made the request to engage a lawyer after the charge were read to me and after my right were explained to me that I have a right to legal representation. Despite the fact that I had made it clear that I want a lawyer to represent me, court proceedings did not halt, instead an order for my remand was issued and I was informed that I will detained at the Women’s prison in pursuance  thereof for 14 days.

Immediately thereafter, I was whisked away to police headquarters in Central Business District (CBD). When we arrived there, that is when a phone was availed to me by one Mr Mashabile to call my lawyer’s office at around 1430 hours. I informed them that I have been arrested and being taken to Women’s Prison and they should come quickly. From there I was taken to women’s Prison to be received by the prison officials. Immediately after being checked in I was the escorted out by the same investigating officer to be taken to my residence in Block 7, Gaborone where I was informed that a search is going to be conducted.

As we were exiting through the gates of Women’s prison, my attorney Phatsimo Mphetolang and my nephew Sean Maswabi were waiting outside the gate. I quickly handed my attorney a copy of the charge sheet and told her that I am being taken to have my house for searching where she shortly arrived behind us.

When my attorney proceed to inquire from myself within earshot of the investigation officer of the investigation officers into details of the charge sheet and my arrest to engage with me, she was lashed at the investigating officers and fearfully told that she is obstructing justice and interfering with police investigation and demanded to leave the residence. She left, but returned a few minutes later to observe the search. The search was concluded at around 1730 hours and I was taken to CBD later on to Women’s Prison at around 1900hrs.

I only managed to consult and speak to my attorney on the Saturday morning. 19th of October 2019 after the fact. My lawyers verily inform me hat on the 21st October 2019 they attended at the Broadhurst magistrate Court to secure copies of the court record detailing all that transpired leading to the issuance of the granting of court order for my remand. They inform me that they managed to secure a copy of the court as I had not been furnished with it by the prosecuting team after it was granted against me.

They proceeded to request for a formal record of proceedings from court to confirm my assertions made in the affidavit herein and at the time of making this application it was still made available to them. Annexed hereto is a copy of letter making the request marked “WHM 1-3.”
My attorney informs me that she met with the court reporter, Ms Baleseng who verify informed her that she will be away from the office from the 22nd October 2019 onwards as she is an election officer in the upcoming 2019 general elections and will only assist with the transcribed record after the elections when she has reported for duty bearing in mind that the 23rd, 24th and 25th of October 2019 has been declared public holidays and she will not be working.

My attorney proceeded to draft the urgent application and came to see me to go over the court documents together for my input around 1500Hours. Count 1, I am accused of having pecuniary resource disproportionate with my present or past known sources of income. I have not been questioned about my assets and means and even if I had being, the prosecution does not need me in jail as I believe they would have already investigated to come up with such charge.

I submit that the first element of the charge is clearly not met as I have not been given the opportunity to explain my assets, which would have would have been the first logical thing to do as demanded by the law. I find it strange that u could be said to have amassed wealth or asserts disproportionate to my means when I do not even have a house to my name or hefty bank account to myself.  Firstly, I am accused of transferring money to Isaac Kgosi on the date unknown, the date in my view should be easy to establish from the documents or whatever instrument that gave rise to the charges.

Secondly, I do not have an offshore account in the names given or any other name. Thirdly, I have no knowledge of Blue File (PTY) Ltd and have never been a signatory to its account.  I was then handed the affidavit to me in my prison cell by Ms Makula. I am advised that the prison official refused to commissioner of oaths to see me in a person in order to depose to the affidavit as required by the law. No amount of persuasion helped and I am told Ms Makula telephoned Ms Nfila who apparently is the boss and ask if they can open the cell for me to meet the commissioner of oaths and that she refused.

I am advised that my attorney Ms Phatshimo  Mphetolang, Mr Uyapo Ndadi, together with Mr Maswabi had to turn back at around 2000hrs and arranged with Ms Makula to come the next day and were informed that the earliest opportunity to see me is at 0830hours. The refusal by the prosecution to allow me legal representation has greatly prejudiced me. It is also unclear that my efforts to seek redress from the court are also frustrated by the authority’s refusal to assist me with commissioning my affidavit.

With respect to the Third count, I do not have to be incarcerated for it as the charge clearly states the nature and specifics of it.” If I had been given the opportunity to engage a lawyer, it would have come out that the passport was used for one intelligence mission abroad which details I am happy to share with the court in camera and was at the behest of my employer, being the DIS and Mr Mabuse Pule, the head of the Immigration Department at the time. The name was my operational name as it is customary in the intelligence field.

After completing the mission, I personally handed over the passport to the director General at the time, and I saw him put it on the safe. I have no knowledge of what he did with it afterwards. But I can confirm to the court that I never had to use it again afterwards.” Uyapo Ndadi who is also representing her in this matter said, “the court postponed her bail application to the 29th October 2019, at 830am.

In summary, she details how she was denied contact with her lawyers and family upon arrest and that she was only allowed to talk to her lawyers after the court issued an order detaining her. After that, the prison officials refused to commission her affidavit saying they have been instructed not to do so. This meant she could not approach court earlier. Her lawyers had to bring another lawyer from outside to assist with the commissioning of documents so that she can then apply for bail.”

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Bangwato regent speaks ‘respect for Dikgosi’

23rd May 2022
Bangwato

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution held a meeting in Serowe this week. The meeting was to accord Bangwato, just like other tribes, a platform to give their opinions, contributions and what they think is the horse power and limitations of the current Constitution of Botswana.

Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Serogola Seretse said, he is of the understanding that the Commission has not come for anything apart from getting their opinions on how things could be made better. His contribution was that he solely knows of only two social positions in the world; Dikgosi and Pastors. He said other positions are just benedictions. He further urged that, Batswana should respect God’s ordained protocols such as Dikgosi and Pastors.

Seretse pointed out the importance of acknowledging and appreciating Dikgosi as nation builders. He cautioned and warned that, the Commission should ensure that their dealing with Dikgosi is harmonious. He called for an amendment to be made on the ‘National Order of Precedence’ noting that Dikgosi are put at number 11, but should at least be taken a little higher to number 7.

One resident, Tshepo Moloi while giving his contribution said there must be provisions of Social Justice that ensure equal distribution of resources to all citizens. He said this provision should entail an obligation that all citizen have equal opportunities to different Government Initiatives. Moloi substantiated that, all ‘Presidential Commissions’ be engraved on the Constitution

Alfred Thogolwane who is as well a resident of the biggest village in the Central District, pointed out the need for preservation of the country and resources thereof, saying “it must dawn onto all that, the calabash that fetches water for the family cannot fixed once its broken.”  Another resident, Keikantsemang Sebedi advocated for Polygamous marriage, saying that men should marry as many wives as they please. She said there is no need for any socioeconomic assessment done on men who wish to marry more than one wife.

She advised that, the country should benchmark from the Zezuru culture that does it, with no complexities. On the other hand, Sebedi said that, there must be considerations done on the Old Age Pension. She said people who earned P4000 should not receive the old Age Pension upon their fullness of age.  Forshia Koloi called for amendments on Section 77 and all the provisions that speaks to the subject of Bogosi and the powers infested in them. He said they should be made more detailed and avoid ambiguity in clauses.

Mr Tlhaodi said there must be Land Audits done in the country. Citing an example of the Tati Land as one that should be thoroughly audited. He further advised that, Election Day be put on the Calendar. He said, if it happens that the day be a Saturday, there should be some special dispensation for the 7th Day Adventist Church members to take part in voting without compromising on their day of worship. Tlhaodi added that there must be People’s Complaint Commission in the country.

Speakers emphasized the need for the country to review the exercise of ‘Political Party Funding’. They articulated that lack of funding political parties’ results in political parties resorting to finding funds for themselves. They reiterated that sometimes going to the extent of getting funds through illegal means. Bangwato agreed in one accord that they want the President be tried whilst in office if suspected of any criminal offences. This was revealed in their contributions. They pointed out that, the law should not to wait until the end of their tenure.

For his part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission Johnson Motshwarakgole expressed gratitude to the residents of Serowe. He applauded women for their kindness saying it is only them, who always take responsibility for doing things amicably in the society.

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Parliament unveils major shake-up plans & reforms

23rd May 2022
Parliament

Parliament has revealed that it plans to rollout a Community Score Card (CSC) exercise as part of sweeping reforms to its role and mandate among others.

The planed shakeup, along with the rollout of CSC will see creation of new Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Skills Development, Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture, Lands and Housing and Local Governance and Social Welfare.
Parliament informed government ministries and departments that the CSC is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of public services and interact with services providers to express their concerns.

According to Parliament, the CSC will assist to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of certain services related to the portfolio committees mentioned.  It said the main objective is for Parliament through identified oversight committees is to conduct a participatory monitoring and evaluating process that puts ownership and responsibility for delivery of services in the hands of both the Government and the service recipients.

“Through scorecards developed around identified sectors and services, communities and implementing departments remain in touch with progress made through the programme delivery cycle and are able to respond timely to bottlenecks,” the National Assembly said.  Some of the measurements and expected outcomes for the rolling out of the CSC include among others, improved monitoring and economic evaluation, to determine the impact of spending, so as to be able to direct resources from where they having the least benefit to those projects and programmes where they will have a larger positive impact.

The National Assembly explained further that this could result in a willingness to close down ineffective programmes and institutions and not to implement projects that do not deliver adequate returns, improved productivity in the public services, especially given the substantial pay increases.

The National Assembly believes that the rolling out of CSC is also expected to result in efficiency savings: many public services and programmes could be delivered more effectively at lower costs, by improving management and accountability, and making use of e-services. “This would yield financial savings that could be used for development programmes or reducing the deficit,” the National Assembly said.

The exercise is also expected to result in “Careful scrutiny of subsidy schemes and termination of those that do not address market failure or assist truly needy Batswana.”  The National Assembly revealed that proposed Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Wellness has been established in accordance with the Standing of National Assembly of Botswana.  It explained that the mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Health and HIV/AIDS.

“There is need to identify reasons for inefficiency and poor outcomes and ensure that health system reform improve productivity and value for money. Key areas of focus for scorecard, availability of drugs, staffing ratios, accessibility of health services, speciality care and services and sexual reproductively health,” the National Assembly said.

Another proposed Committee is on Local Governance and Social Welfare. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary Oversight and Scrutiny over Government Ministries. Departments and Agencies with Portfolio responsibilities in respect of Local Governance and Social Welfare.

“Strategies under NDP 11 to improve outcomes of social uplifment include; diversification of rural economies, development and support of small businesses, provision of social safety nets, eradication of absolute poverty, provision of quality and equitable education and harmonisation of social protection programmes,” said the National Assembly.  It said social nets need to be improved so as to target these most in need (at present some social safety nets benefit many people who are not the most needy, but also miss out some of those who are needy).

“Some social development policies more broadly should also aim to reduce household vulnerability to shocks such as those arising from fluctuations in agriculture, climate change, incomes and employment and improve their ability to handle shocks, thereby building household resilience,” the National Assembly said.

Another Committee established is on Agriculture, Lands and Housing. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Institutions, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

The National Assembly said the average growth rate of the agricultural sector since the beginning of National Development Plan 11 (NDP11) (i.e. during the 2017/2018 and 2018/19 financial years) was 2.5 percent, making it the slowest growing sector of the economy, in line with its historical performance.

“Over the same period, its share of GDP has been stagnant at around 2 percent. The sector also contributes job opportunities for about 80 000 adults. Food security has become paramount since the onset of the corona virus pandemic,” the National Assembly said.  The National Assembly said the Government realises the need to increase food production for products in which Botswana has a cooperative advantage such as beef, grains and other horticulture products.

The Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development has also been established. One of the mandates of Committee would be to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over government ministries, departments and agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Finance, Development, Trade and Industry.

“The sector is at the core of industrialisation aspirations and strategies for economic development in Botswana. Manufacturing in particular can be the driver of economic growth through technological improvements and innovation,” the National Assembly said. Hence, it said, the development of the sector could also foster export diversification and export led-growth in Botswana while benefitting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).

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Salbany, Bareetsi threaten to sue DIS

23rd May 2022
Salbany Bareetsi

Two senior members of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have threatened legal action against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), it has transpired. The threat is contained in an answering affidavit of Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo in which he is seeking an interdiction from High Court to stop the DIS from accessing investigation files at his office.

After the DIS detained DCEC officials Joao Salbany and Tsholofelo Bareetsi on December 16, 2021, they filed an official complaint against DIS and some officials. They complained about abuse of office by DIS and five officers. Salbany and Bareetsi also complained about unlawful detention by DIS and unlawful dissemination of classified information contrary to Section 44 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act. “The DIS interviews were premised on information divulged during the course of official DCEC work product, that is the Monday media brief meeting,” they wrote.

They further requested leave to institute a civil suit against the DIS and its officers, and invariably the State for inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered and unlawful detention. They also pondered a declaratory seeking a sanction against the DIS and Botswana Police Service (BPS) and clarification of the role of BPS officers seconded to DIS.

“The envisaged suit against BPS and DIS officers and the DIS will inevitably centre on investigations done by the DCEC and the scope of the protection availed to DCEC officers for conduct done in the course and scope of DCEC official duties.” The duo said it was self-evident from the conduct of the DIS officers that there was nothing urgent about the information required by the DIS, justifying their detention at its Sebele facility from 08:30 hours on December 16, 2021 until 02:00 hours on December 17, 2021.

They reasoned that the information required by the DIS could have been obtained by a simple request to DCEC Director General. “What the DIS did was to seek to intimidate officers of the DCEC whom they knew were carrying out investigations against some of the DIS officers who were part of their investigation team. This turn of events has a chilling effect not only on the functioning of the DCEC but also on the official conduct of officers of the DCEC as to how they conduct their official duties.”

They concluded by stating that in the event the request is granted, they would further request to be advised as to the provision of legal representation as the unalwful detention and the degrading and inhuman treatment by the DIS was in relation to matters conducted by and on behalf of the DCEC.

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