Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Chief Stephen Tiroyakgosi has come out of the woods and explicitly revealed that his office needs to be endowed with more powers if it is to be effective in delivering its crucial mandate.
DPP is tasked with instituting legal proceedings for those sued by the government. The institution was created with the objective of giving prosecuting office independence from excessive executive oversight on the Attorney General. When it was formed the intention was there should not be interference on how prosecution should be done from the Office of the President. According to Tiroyakgosi, given the objective of the DPP office when it was created, autonomy remains a key component of the prosecuting office, as it is the case in many progressive jurisdictions.
At the top of his lamentation is lack of resources which end up obstructing his sensitive mandate. “We should be resourced as an office,” he said in an interview. “Right now we share cars, drivers and corporate services personnel with the Attorney General and it is not okay. At times it delays us from discharging our duties as efficient as we would have loved to.”
The lack of resources has seen cases at DPP piling up, and reaching 7200. Not only that, there are others at various police stations estimated at thousands. “These include simpler cases of traffic, rape, housebreaking and simple fraud cases,” highlighted Tiroyakgosi. Currently, the DPP has 200 prosecutors in its six offices countrywide and rely on police officers in some instance because of their practical experience.
“But for now we need 150 prosecutors but it is difficult because we will have to hire other support staff which will be more costly to the government and this effects negatively on our job,” he decried. DPP boss says that apart from resources they also want independence. When the institution was established it was purposefully taken from OP in a bid to take off executive influence out but it is still not enough. “The DPP should be free from the Attorney General, that is the best international model and that is where we should be directed to,” he advised.
In essence, Tiroyakgosi wants to report to a tribunal and not the AG which somehow could have influence on how decisions are taken. Previously, Selibe-Phikwe West legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse has called for judges and DPP Director and Ombudsman to have a fixed contract term which is not renewable, Tiroyakgosi wholeheartedly agrees. “That should be the way to go. I should be given a contract for a specific period and it should not be renewable,” he says.
“That way the officer bearers will only focus on their job and not try to impress their bosses with hope of getting renewal at the end. It is the best practice by the way and weeds out any possibilities of corruption and office abuse.” Tiroyakgosi was appointed to this position in 2017 by former President Ian Khama with his contract coming to an end in 2022. He will hear from the President by then if his contract will be renewed.
Currently the DPP has a number of Political Exposed Persons (PEP) files including former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi, former Minister Prince Maele and several incumbent Ministers. The institution boss says it is taking time to close some matters, adding that they will take their time before going to the courts to avoid malicious prosecution which at the end might see them being sued for reckless prosecution.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.