The Gaborone High Court Justice Zein Kebonang has saddled President Mokgweetsi Masisi to act against conspirators in the infamous P100 billion money laundering case, following a landmark ruling against the State.
This week, Justice Kebonang acquitted and discharged the main accused, Welherminah Maswabi, famously known by her code name, “Butterfly”. Maswabi was arrested on the 17th of October 2019 and charged with three criminal counts; financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property, and false declaration of passports.
In his judgement this week, Judge Kebonang shamed all those involved in the investigation of the P100 billion saga. In investigating the matter, he pointed out that the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) ignored fundamental legal principles, withheld falsified material evidence, and subjected an innocent person to an unfair and prejudicial prosecution process.
“I find that there was intentional misconduct by those involved in the investigation and prosecution of the applicant,” he said. This judgment further revealed that the State, through the DPP, the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), fabricated and manipulated evidence, framed and falsely implicated Maswabi.
“There was intentional non-disclosure of evidence by these institutions. The conduct of the State agencies has a chilling effect on the rights and civil liberties of the applicant. The concerned State organs and the named officials have gone rogue,” Judge Kebonang said. Furthermore, Kebonang’s judgement fingered DPP Senior Prosecutor Priscillah Israel and DCEC investigator Jako Hubona accusing them of criminal misconduct and abuse of office.
“They did not accidentally or negligently withhold information and material exculpatory of the applicant, but did so intentionally to maliciously and wrongfully prosecute her,” Kebonang contended.
Kebonang pointed out that Israel and Hubona were best positioned to evaluate and assess the merits of the State’s case but purposely embarked on a road to subvert the rule of law.
Kebonang ridiculed this, emphasising that the decision to prosecute must never depend on the whims of those called upon to make them, nor must it depend on who occupies the office or new administrations. “There can never be probable cause when those entrusted to make such decisions are the once at the forefront of fabricating and concealing evidence,” he said.
Moreover, the court found that the actions by the DPP have brought disrepute to the administration of justice. “Various courts have expended resources towards adjudicating a case that was falsified from inception. The type of misconduct by all those involved in the applicant’s prosecution is so severe that it calls into question the integrity of the entire legal system. It shocks one’s conscience and demands that those involved must be held accountable,” contended Kebonang.
In the end, Judge Kebonang warned that citizens must never be terrified by their government, and those who exercise public power must do so honestly. “The prosecution of the applicant was clearly for an ulterior and dishonourable purpose. The DPP knew that he decided to charge the applicant that there was no evidence against her. He chose, in breach of his constitutional obligations, to deliberately cause harm to the applicant by falsifying and fabricating evidence,” he stated.
Therefore, the court ordered and referred the Director of the DPP, Stephen Tiroyakgosi, to the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, the appointing authority, to consider his removal from office the DPP. The director of DPP is also referred to the Law Society of Botswana for investigation and appropriate sanction.
Furthermore, investigator Jako Hubona is referred to the Commissioner of Police for prosecution for perjury and the DCEC Director-General as his line supervisor for disciplinary action. Israel, DPP Senior Prosecutor, is referred to the Law Society of Botswana for investigation and appropriate sanction. Lastly, Kebonang ordered that the Registrar of the High Court is directed to submit a copy of his judgement to the President of the Republic of Botswana for appropriate remedial action.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.