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DPP denies 'influence' to stall high profile corruption cases

MPHO MOKWAPE
Tiroyakgosi PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has denied pressure and influence from higher powers to stall corruption cases involving big guns.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week, Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Tiroyakgosi said there was no influence when dealing with corruption cases.

He explained that cases were done on their merits as they arrive in the office and were taken to courts when there is enough evidence to prosecute. “We have not had any influence when dealing with cases regardless of who is involved in the case,” he said.

Tiroyakgosi said he had no answers as to why prosecution was delayed in high profile cases except that some cases take time as they are complex and investigation had to be thoroughly done for the prosecution to have a strong case.

He pointed out that at times even when suspects have been identified it does not necessarily mean they can run to prosecute instead things are done accordingly like recovering the money where funds are involved.

“Most of the cases involve millions of funds and that at times before prosecution can effect there are efforts to try and recover the money,” he said. Tiroyakgosi was responding to committee member, Dithapelo Keorapetse who had wanted to know why some of the high profile cases take years to prosecute.

Keorapetse gave examples of cases that have stalled including the ones involving former the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) director general, Isaac Kgosi and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) despite suspects having been identified.

The committee member was afraid that even the National Petroleum Fund case would be stalled despite suspects having

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been identified just like any other cases as they involve high profile people. On other issues, Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe told the committee that his office has no powers to recommend to review the Constitution at Parliament.

Keetshabe said if there was a need for constitutional review, the lobby would have to come from the public not his office. He explained that his mandate was only to advise Parliament on legal matters and defend the Constitution.

“We are only mandated to advise Parliament and defend the Constitution. Only the people are the ones who can advocate for a Constitution review,” he said.

On conflict of interest by the AG sitting in Parliament and also other arms of legislation, Keetshabe said there was no such as his was to look at what the lawyer says and advise accordingly.  He explained that it was not possible for his office to advise wrongly knowing what the consequences could be. Keetshabe was responding to a question posed by Keorapetse, as he wanted to know if the AG had ever recommended a Constitution review to Parliament. Keorapetse said there had been evidence that there was a need for Constitution review so as it is in line with the democratic shift. Committee member, Samson Moyo Guma had asked the AG if there was no conflict of interest in the matter.

He had questioned why the AG was advising Parliament on matters they are part of as they often sit in the National Assembly.



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