FRANCISTOWN: Principal Magistrate Dumisani Basupi has recused himself from a high profile case involving two Francistown men, Tiro Gaylards Masimege and Mothusi Mmolawa who are alleged to have defrauded Panda Group of Companies in Francistown of a sum amounting to P4 million between June 2008 and October 2010.
Basupi was recently appointed the Registrar and Master of the High Court in Lobatse. He was temporarily in Francistown last week Friday in order to clear a backlog of some of the cases he presided over whilst he was the substantive principal magistrate.
It is alleged that Masimege and Mmolawa connived together in selling the products of the company on the pretext that the money was being paid into the Panda Group of Companies account, while the money was being paid into their own accounts. The payment for the stock that the accused persons made, was also reportedly obtained in the form of cash or cheques written in the names of the accused persons business companies, namely Nuwa and Sons, Potlako Tiro Holdings and Greeny Zone.
The two men had applied for Basupi to recuse himself because of the hostility he has often shown them, more especially when they filed sick leaves with the court. Basupi has often labelled the sick leaves as a mere delaying tactic.
“I am happy to recuse myself from a matter that has been coloured with sick leaves. A resident magistrate will be better
The accused have changed attorneys more than twice in the case. The prosecution has also changed its personnel (in relation to the case) several times. The prosecution has also in the past been accused of lack of seriousness in the case. The case was once struck off the roll in 2011 and later reinstated.
That was after failure by the prosecution to serve the defence attorneys in the matter with audit reports as evidence. The accused persons will appear in court on August 9, for reallocation and general update of the case. Principal prosecutions counsel, Antoinette Kula represents the State, while the accused persons have Tshekiso Tshekiso in their corner.