Mmegi Online :: DIS, DCEC, police sued over lawyers harassment
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Last Updated
Monday 11 December 2017, 03:12 am.
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DIS, DCEC, police sued over lawyers harassment

The three state security organs, the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Botswana Police Service (BPS) are being sued for harassment of lawyers during the discharge of their duties.
By Tefo Pheage Wed 20 Apr 2016, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: DIS, DCEC, police sued over lawyers harassment








The case emanates from an incident in which a Gaborone lawyer, Gabriel Kanjabanga was barred from discharging his professional duties as an attorney to consult and represent his clients. His lawyer Colleen Mudara has issued the three organs with a 30 days statutory notice of his intention to sue.

“We therefore by this letter write to issue yourself with one moth statutory notice in terms of state Civil Proceedings Act of our client, Mr Kanjabanga’s intention to institute civil proceedings upon the expiry of one month against yourselves, the Botswana Police, DCEC and DIS for declaratory order that the conduct of the police and the other security officials in refusing attorneys to be present when interviewing suspects is illegal, unconstitutional and of no force and effect,” reads the notice leaked to Mmegi.

The notice further says, “we will also request an order restraining and interdicting any member of the Botswana Police, DCEC and DIS to ever chase client away and/or any attorney during interviews and/or interrogation of suspects”.

The notice further reads: “By copy hereof the Botswana Police, the DCES and the DIS are advised of the notice of intension to sue them for the reliefs herein sought, the costs of which they shall pay”.  Kanjabanga’s lawyer says besides making threats to arrest and or detain the client, the security officers would alternatively state that the suspects and/or clients be locked up or detained so as to deny client a chance to effectively represent his clients and the police or the security officials concerned would then in the absence of client interview or interrogate suspects, in most instances to force confessions from them and force them to give self incriminating information against themselves. “The abuse and ill treatment of client herein as an attorney has gone on for a very long time over the years he has been a practicing attorney and it is simply illegal, unlawful and a violation of his constitutional right to represent his clients and it’s also a violation of those rights to be represented by their attorney.

The conduct complained of herein, they say is too widespread and very common with the police and other security officials, such that the police do it with such flagrant impunity and disregard for the professional rights of

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attorneys.

“They would even threaten to detain and arrest lawyers and even brag that even if the lawyers were to sue afterwards for unlawful arrest and/or detention they do not care as they would sue the government, and it is the government that would pay as they individually and personally don’t care about it,” reads the notice.

Kanjabanga and his lawyer say a recent case in point relates to the ill treatment and abuse that client suffered at the instance of members of the Botswana Police and the DIS after they arrested one of his clients in Lobatse whom they falsely accused of smuggling cigarettes.

“Client approached our Mr Kanjabanga herein to represent him and he the attorney herein referred to met with the police at his offices in particular with one Detective Constable Letlhare of the Botswana Police based at Lobatse Police and one DIS officer whose name client has forgotten,” the lawyer says.

“Our client Mr Kanjabanga, agreed with the police officer and the Directorate of Intelligence Services officer herein referred to that he would  travel to Lobatse with his client in order that the police could interview him or interrogate him as the case may be, in his presence as the attorney,” the notice reads.

“Whilst Mr Kanjabanga was insisting that he has a right to be present when the interview was being conducted and he was not going to leave the room where the interview was being held, a senior police officer got into the room, one Assistant Commissioner Dintwa. He appeared to want to impress his junior officers as he told them to lock Mr Ephraim up if his attorney was not going to leave the room, in order that they could carry on with interrogation,” reads the notice. “Assistant Commissioner Dintwa, the notice says, even told our client Mr Kanjabanga that, he could later sue, it does not matter because the government would pay when he sues, not them as individual police officers.

“Mr Dintwa’s other junior police officer were very much disrespectful, abusive and insulting towards attorney Kanjabanga and even threatened to arrest him and also echoed Assistant Commissioner’s words that even if he sues it does not matter as the government would pay and not them,” the notice further reads.

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