Directorate of Intelligence Security Service (DISS) Director General (DG) Peter Magosi is reported to be on a seven day self-isolation following his trip to countries that are highly infected by the Corona Virus (COVID-19) which has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO).
This publication has learned that the spy chief has been trotting the world in a bid to garner more information relating to Wilhelminah ‘Butterfly’ Maswabi’s high profile case. Maswabi is facing three criminal charges of financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property and false declaration for passports. On Financing Terrorism, this is a charge which on its own carries life imprisonment which the State prosecutors say could be a motivating factor for one not to stand trial and flee the jurisdiction which will delay the proceedings and evidence against her to be compromised.
Maswabi is expected to appear before the courts in August this year as her tussle with the State continues. WeekendPost is told that Magosi had to travel the world after getting a tip off that some countries including Israel and the United Kingdom have convincing evidence linking Maswabi to the charges. The intention, sources say, was to dig up the evidence quickly and in person as the DG wants to present the evidence before the courts once the case resumes.
DIS boss and his office have been accused of fabricating evidence linking Maswabi to the crimes hence fighting with everything to glean new proof to convince the courts beyond reasonable doubt. It is however worth noting that, informants told this publication that Magosi was advised not to travel as he was exposing himself to the deadly virus. “But he dared not listen,” says a source. “He arrived in Botswana this past Sunday and he has taken a decision to isolate himself for seven days in case of any symptoms he would seek medical assistance.”
The suspicion is, Magosi passed through highly infected countries especially the United Kingdom which has recorded 3,269 cases, 144 deaths of Corona cases since the first case was recorded on 31st of January. The decision to self-quarantine is however said to be a personal one by Magosi. “He is a very considerate person and knowing the danger he might have been exposed to, he personally decided to quarantine himself for the good of others (Batswana). In fact he wants to show others by leading by example. Maybe he will be out tomorrow (Sunday) if at all he will be in good condition,” a very impeccable source told this publication.
Magosi however dismissed reports that he is in self-isolation when WeekendPost asked him. “The truth is I am not (quarantined). Because of my operations, I have offices all over but it is not true. As to my travels it is very unfortunate that I cannot tell you, but it is not true,” he said in a cell phone interview. The government of Botswana has also joined the bandwagon of countries who fight the scourge.
“The initial budget allocated to deal with this virus was P31 millions of which P50 million had been requested. P22 million has already been spent thus far. Do we have money to fight this? No, we have no money lying around but this money we will find. At this moment we have not declared this a national disaster however we still treat this as a state of emergency, we have no confirmed cases,” President Mokgweetsi Masisi told journalists on Thursday. Among others, the government has decided to close learning institutions and directed that funerals should take at least two hours.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.