Broadhurst Magistrate Court has this week finally made a ruling to have the National Petroleum case committed to the High Court following an application made by the Directorate of Public Prosecution to commit the case to the High Court.
The accused person’s Bakang Seretse, Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobatse and ex-Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology, Energy and Security Sadique Kebonang, his twin brother High Court Justice Zein Kebonang, Kenneth Kerekang, Mogomotsi Seretse, Leomog Pty Ltd, Kago Stimela, STM Holdings Pty Ltd together with Khulaco (Pty) Ltd and Basis Point are charged with 65 counts of money laundering. The Regional Magistrate refused the accused person’s application to stay committal proceedings.
When making the ruling on Wednesday, Magistrate Masilo Mathaka stressed that this case has dragged on for too long and it was about time that it be given the seriousness it deserves. The case was brought before the court in 2017 until date, with application-after-application by both the defense attorneys and the DPP.
A few months back the defense attorneys Kgosi Ngakaagae and Unoda Mack served the DPP several times to have the charges against their clients quashed without any luck. The defense attorneys argued that the DPP did not have any tangible evidence that links their clients to money they are accused to have laundered. Despite a decision by the court earlier last month to dismiss an application by Ngakaagae to have the charges quashed Ngakaagae this week told the court that he is challenging its decision.
“We have been here for one and a half months now, and we challenge this court’s decision to have the charges quashed. We want this case over, just that we want it over fairly. We have accepted our fate that we will be prosecuted,” said Kgosi. In their heads of submission this week the defense attorneys said the DPP needs to go back to the drawing board and review their case and stop straining their clients.
“The welfare of the accused persons should not be taken lightly. Accusing a person of a criminal offense is a serious security threat in society. The state should follow the right procedure; what is it that links these people to the crime that they are said to have committed? There is no concrete evidence that they indeed acted in common purpose. The application is feverous to want to commit the case to the High Court.” In their response Prosecutor Manchwe dismissed the defense attorneys arguing that their heads of submission were pointless.
“We need not have concrete evidence to have acted in common purpose,” he said. In their response the defense attorneys tried to make an application to make an appeal which Magistrate Mathaka dismissed and said whatever application that they want or need to make can be made at the High Court, they need not stay committal proceedings. “You can still appeal at the High Court, Mr. Ngakaagae, it’s okay. Committal; is not stopping you from making any kind of applications,” magistrate Masilo Mathaka said.
Whilst on the quashing of the charges arguments, Manchwe made an application that left the defense in awe to have the accused person’s bail revoked with immediate effect and be remanded whilst awaiting trial as they have been already committed to the High Court. However, Mathaka made a ruling that the accused will not be jailed but will continue with their previous bail conditions while awaiting trial at the High Court.
New developments reaching this publication on the case indicate that Sadique and Zein have given the state 30 days notice prior to the case. This was confirmed by High Court Justice Kebonang who is also implicated in the matter. “It is true that we gave the state notice. The notice runs out next week. Only after that can we file our papers.” The case will resume at a date that will be communicated by the High Court.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.