Minister of Defence Justice and Security (MDJS), Shaw Kgathi is irked by piling cases at the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP). The minister is also troubled by the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) sloppiness in case management.
A number of cases including high profile cases have been with the DPP for some time now but updates have yet to be shared regarding them. The DPP has generally been accused of sitting on high profile cases involving politicians and public officers. Recently, the Attorney General, Abraham Keetshabe was criticized by various quarters including Law Society of Botswana (LSB) over claims that he told the president that ministers are “free from prosecution” as long as he is the AG. The AG chambers however later issued a rebuttal.
At a security council late last month, minister Kgathi revealed that there were close to 15 000 cases found during an auditing process, of which some have not been formally closed yet. “The data analysis established that out of 14 817 cases found during auditing, some of the cases were not formally closed though they had been completed at court and thus substantially increasing the numbers classified as backlog.”
The minister revealed that he has as a result asked the Registrar and Master of the High Court to device ways and means of fast tracking all cases identified as ‘backlog’ that are already registered with various courts. Despite the minister’s remarks, the DPP is of the view that the backlog has significantly been reduced. According to the DPP and AG Chambers files, “Criminal cases reduced from 10 309 to 10 271. These are made up of 5,327 cases which are before the courts and 4, 944 which are still being assessed. Civil cases also reduced from 7000 to 3 36.”
The minister, as part of remedial action was also forced to transfer prosecutorial functions from Botswana Police Service (BPS) to DPP for better management, WeekendPost has learnt. Further, the ministry was forced to recruit a retired prosecutor early this year to help speed up the process of reducing the backlog. “The data clearing operation has shown high workload ratio per prosecutor and an imbalance in the allocation and distribution of cases,” he told the council.
The minister further added: “To address this, the DPP has started a process of offloading prosecutors with high cases to those with less case. One retired prosecutor has been engaged on contract terms starting July to alleviate this.” Besides this, the DPP is in the process of opening additional offices in Selibe Phikwe this year to ease congestion in the already existing offices. According to records seen by this paper, Botswana Police Services has 6 625 cases aged 18 months which they submitted to DPP for prosecution but have yet to be tried. The BPS has since introduced waybill registers to account for cases submitted to and from DPP to avoid any clash in future.
To facilitate this, Criminal Justice Forum advised that mutually reinforcing the process between the police, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the DPP should be done. This will also include cases under investigation and ready for prosecution.
THERE IS BACKLOG AT AOJ AS WELL
The Administration of Justice (AOJ) which is also grappling with a backlog of cases has procured equipment for real time recording and reporting as a way of reducing the load. The piloting and roll out of the equipment, will be implemented in the second quarter at Gaborone high Court division, this publication has learnt.
The minister also revealed that during a human trafficking training earlier on, the 17 judges and 47 magistrates present were also sensitised on the need for all actors in the AOJ to develop systems for dealing with backlog cases. Further, the AOJ has opened additional Magistrates courts in Kang, Shakawe and Nata. “The effect of this has been the reduction of the workload in the Courts, especially those coming from Lobatse and Francistown respectively.” The defence ministry will be the busiest in the coming parliamentary session where a number of bills will be debated. Further, the ministry will conclude some military deals they agreed with other countries.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.