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Tim Marsland accuses DPP of bias in BPOPF case

Former Capital Management Botswana (CMB) director, Tim Marsland has rejected claims that he is a fugitive from justice. Writing in an answering affidavit to respond to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Marsland says the mere fact that he knew of the existence of investigations against him did not elevate him to being a fugitive to justice.

Marsland who argues malice and bias against him, says there was never any formal indication to either himself or his attorneys in Botswana or South Africa that he is to be charged formally. Moreover I was not informed about the fact that a Warrant for my arrest had been authorized. I only became aware of the existence that I am being charged with offences and that a Warrant for my arrest had been issued on 12 July 2019, he says.

The former CMB director wants the court to set aside the warrant for his arrest because the order is competent. He is also claiming that the warrant in itself was not properly sought and dismisses claims that South African courts found the order to be competent.

The bias in the investigation is quite simply clear in that there was never an intention for an interview to give information in order to determine whether a reasonable suspicion or a prima facie case exists. The sole intention was to interview me and then proceed to trial. This is clearly indicative of a biased approach to an investigation, he writes.

According to Marsland there was no request that he avail myself to any court in Botswana to stand trial, had he been made aware of such request, I have already indicated that I would have made the necessary arrangements to submit myself to the jurisdiction of this Honourable court.

The allegation that a Warrant of Arrest in extradition process was the only option to bring me before the jurisdiction of these courts is simply untruthful. In order for me to not have availed myself to the jurisdiction of this Honourable court. I must have known of the existence of a warrant of Arrest, something I did not know of until 12 July 2019, he writes in his affidavit.

Marsland says since he was not ion Botswana, and there was therefore no risk that he would flee Botswana, the question arises why the Botswana Authorities did not engage with his attorneys in both Botswana and South Africa to ensure that he avails himself to the jurisdiction of the court. The answer to this question is simple in nature. The answer is that there is a malicious and biased motive against me and to request my cooperation would defeated, since I would have cooperated, this malicious and biased approach against me, he writes.

Marsland is arguing that investigations on this matter have not been concluded and rejects the notion that he failed to avail himself for an interview and then a trial. This is a clear indication as one can possibly get that a predetermined outcome had already been decided upon and that the investigation was motivated by bias and/or ulterior motives, he writes.

He says a proper investigation of the transactions on which DPP rely to establish fraud and/ or theft by false pretenses and or money laundering was not properly conducted. The former CMB director is also of the view that the matter is purely civil in nature and is not criminal.

Marsland is currently incarcerated in South Africa and is accused alongside Rapula Okaile of having siphoned money, approximately P477 million from Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) illegally. The two have denied these charges claiming they invested the BPOPF money as per the conditions of a contract they entered into with the BPOPF. Former BPOPF Chief Executive Officer, Boitumelo Molefhe is expected to be the star witness in the case.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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