Bakang Seretse and his co-accused have clashed with Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for obtaining an absolute court order validating the seizure of their property.
Seretse and co who are accused of dipping their hands into millions from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) accuse the DCEC of closing them out of objecting to the continuous seizure of their property by obtaining an order without even informing them or serving them with the documents.
On Friday at Lobatse High Court before Judge Jennifer Dube through their attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, the trio demanded that the DCEC release the documents and the proceedings opened so they can state their objects about the property being kept.
Through an urgent review application, the accused who have been fighting to get their property back, wanted to compel the court to deal with the matter on an urgent basis so as to get the application that was used to obtain the order and see if they can challenge it.
Ngakaagae explained that after the DCEC seized the goods without a warrant and they brought the matter before former regional chief magistrate, Chris Gabanagae, the DCEC was given 14 days to regularise the seizure, as it was not fair on the accused.
“Instead of doing what the magistrate had ordered, they went to a different magistrate to obtain the absolute order without informing nor serving the respondents despite citing them, moreover they refused to furnish us with the application,” he
He argued that DCEC sought the absolute order knowing well that they were shutting out the accused from defending. Ngakaagae said it was even appalling that the matter was decided without his clients whereas they were supposed to be served and appear together with the DCEC before the magistrate hears grounds of the seizure and to be able to object. “We wanted their application to see if we can challenge the order and they refused. There is a need for a proper hearing where we will be able to defend,” he said.
On the urgency, Ngakaagae said the matter was urgent in that they wanted to make sure that the injustice does not continue, especially that they could not wait since the magistrate had already dealt with the matter.
He submitted that they had no choice, but to approach court knowing that DCEC have no right to repossess and seize people’s property without any reason and that his clients have the right to a hearing.
“We sought those papers to be released and granted a hearing by compelling the magistrate to hear us by opening the proceedings. Again, the magistrate should be the one to determine if we get the property or not,” he pointed. Judge Dube will deliver her ruling this week.