A High Court hearing at Lobatse recently ordered the seizure of properties belonging to former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), Colonel Isaac Seabelo Kgosi. By this order Government has fast tracked the Setswana adage, Khumo matlhare ya tlhotlhorega at the Kgosi homestead.
Since his arrest last year, the Government of Botswana through Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) has been breathing heavily on Kgosi and his family on the basis of investigations relating to tax evasion. He has also attracted the wrath of the punitive side of the DIS Act for allegedly exposing the identity of some DIS agents whilst they were carrying out their duties.
On July 19th 2019 the Lobatse High Court registrar gave an order to the Director of Prosecutions in reference: Portion 83 (portion of portion 78) of the farm Sentlhane NO. 18- KO: Portion 83 (portion of portion 78) of the farm Sentlhane NO. 18- KO; Lot 61299 Gaborone; Landrover Motor Vehicle Registered as B 414 AXU, Land cruiser Motor Vehicle registered as B 975 BHI; Cows consisting of 200 heifers, 24 Simmentaller, 36 Brahman White (pure breed), 1 Brahman Bull and 1 Simmentaller Bull, Money amounting to BWP 549, 763. 07 held in Barclays Bank of Botswana Accounting Number 8624117 in the names of Isaac Seabelo Kgosi.
According to the order, the Office of the Receiver shall immediately take full possession, control and custody of the above listed properties pending investigations and/ or institution and finalization of proceedings for a civil penalty order and civil forfeiture order.
“All persons with knowledge of this order are prohibited from disposing of, further encumbering, dissipating, interfering with, attaching or selling in execution, diminishing the value of or dealing in any other manner with any of the property to which this order relates,” reads the order.
The order also states that the Registrar of Deeds shall endorse the title deed of Lot 61299 Phakalane, Gaborone specified in the order with the restriction that the property, or property representing such property, shall not, without the prior leave of the honorable court, be attached, sold in execution, further mortgaged or otherwise encumbered, provided that such endorsement shall not prevent a transfer of property effected in accordance with any incidental orders of the court.
It further says “notwithstanding the provisions of the order, any person who has financial obligations in respect to the property is hereby ordered to fulfill such obligations, including any obligations relating to mortgage bonds, insurance, vehicle finance, rates, taxes, licenses, utilities such as water and electricity accounts, and all interest accruing in respect of such obligations, pending the finalization of the forfeiture proceedings unless such person signs a consent to judgement in favor of the applicant”.
The order further authorizes any member of the law enforcement agencies to assist the Receiver to take full possession, control and custody of Kgosi’s listed properties. The order provides that the DCEC must in terms of section 42 (1) of PICA cause notice of this order, together with documents supporting the application, to be served on all persons identified as having an interest in the matter. WeekendPost can also reveal that some of the cattle transported from Kgosi’s Sentlhane farm died in the process due to starvation.
Meanwhile on July 30th Lobatse High Court judge ruled in favour of Kgosi’s wife Jennifer Matlho Seitshiro in a case in which the state through the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had evicted her from her home amid investigations on her husband. Judge Tebogo Tau ruled that Seitshiro should move back to her home as long as she does not sublet it or alienate the property. This was after Seitshiro argued in court that neither her husband nor she have been charged with any criminal offence relating to their properties.
The former Spy chief’s wife said through an affidavit submitted in court that even the DPP has acknowledged that she is the one servicing the loan and not her husband. Ruling in her favour the court had decided that, “She maintains the value of the property by amongst others not removing any of the fixtures, maintaining all the accessories of the property including swimming pool, garden, security installations subject to normal tear and wear.”
The judge further ruled that she continues to discharge her financial obligations in respect to the property including any obligations in relation to the mortgage bonds, insurance, rates, taxes, licenses, utilities such as water and electricity accounts and all interest accruing in respect of such obligations, pending the finalization of the forfeiture proceedings unless such a person signs consent to judgment in favour of the applicant (Seitshiro).” Isaac Kgosi is currently admitted in Malaysia for an operation on his back. The state had declared him a fugitive and obtained a warrant of his arrest, which was later temporarily suspended by the court following proof that he was indeed in hospital.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.
In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.
â€śBotswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,â€ť says Dr. Kwape. He wouldnâ€™t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.
â€śWe will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,â€ś he said.
However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the â€śGovernment of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.â€ť
Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.
â€śSADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,â€ť the statement says.
Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.
Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.
State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.
The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceasedâ€™s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.
Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrateâ€™s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.
â€śThe third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,â€ť Ookeditse said.
However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.
Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.
â€śYesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,â€ť said the State prosecutor.
While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.
He told the court that on the 12thÂ of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.
According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Astonâ€™s children) are staying.
â€śThato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,â€ť said Zhalamonto.
Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.
â€śI have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,â€ť Zhalamonto told the court.
He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.
â€śPhillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mallâ€ť the Investigation Officer told the court.
He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the â€śunknown callerâ€ť and the route of the cell number.
Furthermore, the fourth accused,Â Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.
Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6thÂ of next month
Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.
Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.
To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.
â€śWe spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine â€“ that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,â€ť said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.
Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herderâ€™s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.
“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,â€ť said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).