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DCEC refuses to return Bakang’s assets

Lobatse High Court Judge, Jennifer Dube will next week Friday deliver a ruling in the P250m National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case where the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has applied for a stay of execution following an order that they return Bakang Seretse and Kenneth Kerekang’s assets.

Judge Dube had two months ago delivered a ruling in favour of Bakang and Kerekang, ordering the DCEC to release into their custody all the assets seized during the period December 2017 to date. DCEC had a day later approached a different judge in the absence of other parties asking for a stay of execution pending final arguments, and were granted the ruling.

When the parties appeared for arguments on the stay of execution on Thursday, State Chief Counsel, Julia Mokoti argued that, “the vehicles in question were crucial for the criminal proceedings. It will be very prejudicial in terms of investigation if at the end of the case it appears the money in question was used to buy the vehicles.” She added that they needed the said assets to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

On his part, Ngakaagae argued that DCEC has defied the court order, with the result that after the lapse of a day following the order, they were in contempt of the same order. “Being in contempt, and having been so notified, DCEC approached approached the High Court by night, in our absence for a stay of execution,” he told the court. He implored the court to release the vehicles to his clients as per the previous order. He told the court that his clients would not temper with the said vehicles as ordered by the court.

 “My client is a lawful owner of these vehicles. And they are law abiding citizens,” said Ngakaagae. Ngakaagae also argued that the DCEC would not suffer any prejudice should the assets be released to their owners. “It is all about egos…DCEC egos, nothing else…they are just saying we will never get what we want,” said Ngakaagae.

In the main case, Bakang, Kerekang and Botho Leburu are alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, received over P320 million which was unlawfully taken from the NPF. The background of the case is that the then Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae who has since joined the High Court as a judge, had last year December directed the DCEC to get a court order to regularise their seizure of Bakang and Kerekang’s property. The property was as such seized without serving the two applicants with court papers as required by the law.

It was after this seizure that the two applicants’ attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae approached the high court seeking justice for his clients. On his application, Ngakaagae sought a relief ordering the magistrate to furnish the Registrar of the high court with all pleadings as were filed by the DCEC for obtaining the search and seizure warrant; the DCEC to appear before court to show cause, if any, why the court should not make final that their search and seizure warrant be set aside.

In her ruling, Justice Dube suspended the warrant of seizure issued by the magistrate pending the final determination of the issues surrounding the validation of same by the magistrate. She however ordered Bakang and Kerekang that, “During the suspension of the warrant of seizure, the said assets are not to be sold to anyone or pass ownership in any shape or form; or to be used in such manner as to accelerate the depreciation of their value or to leave the country.”

She also gave the clerk of Broadhurst magistrate where the seizure order was granted seven days to furnish Ngakaagae with all pleadings as were filed and upon which reliance was placed by the DCEC for obtaining the search and seizure warrant. The judge went on to note that it was in the interest of justice that she leans in favour of the applicants. “The object of the court is to do justice between the parties in order to promote the proper ventilation of the dispute between them the subject of a decision. This however, must not cause prejudice to the other side,” she noted.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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