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Magistrate recuses herself as 'poaching kingpin' alleges foul play

LEBOGANG MOSIKARE GOITSEMODIMO AKANYANG
Moyo during a previous appearance PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng has recused herself in the matter in which a man alleged to be a poaching ringleader in Africa suspects that sinister moves are behind delays in his case.

Dumisani Moyo is suspected of being a major ivory and rhino horns poaching kingpin in the region. Moyo and his co-accused were allegedly found with rhino horns at or near Francistown/Orapa junction in 2012. His co-accused have since died.

This week, Kebeetsweng stood down after Moyo’s attorney Kagiso Jani said he would refer the delays to the Administration of Justice to investigate. Jani told the court that on February 19 this year, he had expected the court to make a ruling on the application for Moyo’s acquittal. Jani however made it clear that he did not blame Kebeetsweng for the delays.

“However, on February 19, we were told that the ruling on the application for the acquittal on my client was not ready. The case was then postponed to March 4. On March 4, we were surprised when the court did not deliver the ruling concerning the application we made. Instead, the court delivered a ruling we did not ask for. The magistrate told us that she has no jurisdiction to preside over the matter while we were expecting her to acquit or not acquit my client,” said Jani.

Jani told the court that he was shocked as he believed that the issue of whether the magistrate had jurisdiction to hear the matter or not had been dealt with last year. He added that last year, the magistrate agreed that she had jurisdiction to hear the case.

“We now humbly submit that we are shocked why the

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magistrate is telling us that she cannot preside over this matter. We suspect foul play but not on part of the magistrate. This case has been dragging on for a long time and we are left with no option but to humbly report the matter to her worship’s superiors in the Administration of Justice,” said Jani.

Jani told the court that he does not rule out the possibility of seeking help from other law enforcement agencies to investigate why the matter was not progressing as expected.

For his part, state prosecutor Archie Makgoa did not address the defence’s claims, but rather said the prosecution would wait for the court to set another mention date.

Kebetsweeng set the matter for the chief magistrate on May 2, before recusing herself.

Asked to clarify which law enforcement agencies he was referring to on Thursday, Jani said that they may possibly seek assistance from the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime and the Ombudsman to look into the matter. Jani’s law firm, Tshekiso Ditiro & Jani Legal Practice, suffered a break-in last year, shortly after he assumed representing Moyo. The thieves stole goods including a television, decoder and a computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU), which contained confidential information of the law firm and its clients.

“What surprises us is the fact that the thieves left other expensive items like computers in some of our offices but chose to steal a decoder, television and CPU,” Jani said at the time.

 



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