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DPP Wants ‘Butterfly’ Case Heard In Camera

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Butterfly arriving at court PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says it will move for its case against Directorate of Intelligence and Security agent, Welheminah Maswabi to be heard in camera.

The State, which is accusing Maswabi, known as ‘Butterfly’ of financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property and false declaration of a passport said on Friday during her bail hearing that they would move an application for the matter to be heard in private.

State attorney, Omphemetse Makale told the court that it would do so before the return date to argue costs.

“We intend to move an application for the matter to be heard in camera before hearing of the matter on costs,” he said.

However, this did not go well with Gaborone High Court Judge, Justice Michael Mothobi who asked why the State is going that route.

“I hear what you are saying, but why do you want the matter to be heard in private. The public has a right to know what happens in courts.

There is public interest in this matter. Their presence here, does not speak only to unemployment but their interest to this case, so I am wondering why you want the matter heard in camera,” he asked rhetorically.

Meanwhile, in a brief interview with Maswabi’s lawyer Uyapo Ndadi, he said he shares Mothobi’s sentiments in that the matter is of public interest.

“The interest was created by the State to the extent that they showed my client’s pictures behind bars in khakhi inmates clothes.

They made their bed

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and must lie on it. The public will see the full truth play itself out,” Ndadi said.

Maswabi was finally granted bail after failing in previous attempts. The State had filed notice of non-opposition, abandoning the position they had on Monday that they opposed her bail application.

The bail conditions include surrendering her passport and binding herself with P20, 000 which she will pay in case she violates any of the conditions.

She has also been ordered not to interfere with State witnesses amongst them Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime officer Jako Hubona and former director of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and current deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Mabuse Pule. 

Maswabi has been in jail since October 19, 2019.

But the defence counsel, Unoda Mack moved that they be granted order for costs. He said the State has been opposing bail based on fabricated and false evidence.

“Based on the fact that the State deliberately placed fabricated and false information, the court should award us costs. After all, the State doesn’t oppose the granting of such relief we are seeking,” Mack said.

With the DPP opposing costs order, Justice Mothobi said the parties should return to argue the issue of costs. He ordered the parties to file heads of arguments so that the issue could be finalised.



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