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A reflection on major legal scandals in 2019

MPHO MOKWAPE
Isaac Kgosi PIC. KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Court Staff Reporter MPHO MOKWAPE takes a look at cases that made prominent headlines both in local and international media for the legal year ending.

Kgori Capital implicated in NPF scandal

Kgori Capital, an asset management entity, was one of the companies that came under the spotlight when the National Petroleum Fund (NPF), a statutory fund run under the Energy Affairs Department, hit the headlines in late 2017, with the State alleging that up to P230 million had been lost through money laundering linked to the national intelligence agency. At the time Bakang Seretse was Kgori Capital Director and he was also charged in the NPF scandal.

Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) successfully froze Kgori’s accounts, arguing that the fund manager had helped itself to P10.5 million in management fees from the NPF despite the non-existence of a valid agreement.

However, after vigorous fight by the asset manager, it was cleared of any criminal activity by the Court of Appeal on the much-publicised NPF scandal. Earlier this year around July following its final bid at CoA to recover its millions seized under the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA) by DPP as part of its investigations into the NPF scandal, the court ruled in its favour and cleared it of the money laundering scandal. In the judgment the CoA, a bench of three judges, said there was no evidence of criminal offence on the part of Kgori Capital more so that the DPP had failed to present any such.

 

Former spy chief charged

Earlier this year on April the country made news headlines when the former director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Isaac Kgosi was slapped with two counts of offence contrary to section 19 (b) (ii) as read with section 46 of the Intelligence and Security Service Act. Kgosi, who was arraigned before Court, stand accused of exposing DIS agents to the public.

According to the charge sheet, count one of the offence is the prohibition of disclosure of identity.  The particulars of offence are that the accused person, Kgosi, between February 18 and 25, 2019 in Gaborone took photographs of officers as well as the identity cards of the officers engaged in DIS covert operation. On count two he is charged with obstructing officers and support staff.

“The accused person, Kgosi, on or about February 18, 2019 at Extension 6 obstructed X and Y who are officers of the DIS in the execution of their duties by verbally assaulting them,” this is according to the charge sheet.

However, Kgosi’s who is currently challenging the validity of the charges, is yet to go on trial as he been away on medical reasons. His next court appearance is set for January 24, 2020.

 

Morupisi, wife charged in CMB saga 

The long arm of the law this year finally caught up with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi who the public was having an outcry concerning his alleged corruption.

After it was reported

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that President Mokgweetsi Masisi gave the green light, the PSP was slapped with three counts of offences alleged to be in connection with the misappropriation of funds from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).

Morupisi is charged together with his wife, Pinny Morupisi and the company, R7 Group that the latter is the director of.

According to the charge sheet, Morupisi is charged with three counts of abuse of office, acceptance of bribe by a public officer and money laundering while his wife is charged with only one count of money laundering.

 

NPF money laundering scandal

The P230m National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering case this year finally headed to trial after one-and-half years of back and forth court appearances and investigations.

On August 21, 2019, Broadhurst Regional South Magistrate, Masilo Mathaka committed the accused persons to stand trial at the High Court despite an earlier call by the accused persons for him to stay the proceedings.

The high profile money laundering case has Bakang Seretse, Kenneth Kerekang and the Kebonang brothers, former minister Sadique and High Court judge Zein who are charged. The case is yet to take off at the High Court and recently the Kebonang brothers made an application for their charges to be dropped.

 

Okaile, Marsland accused of defrauding BIFM

Rapula Okaile and Timothy Marsland, the directors of Capital Management Botswana (CMB), were this year around August charged with one count of attempting to obtain by false pretence in a matter involving about P80.5 million from Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM). The offence was allegedly committed in January 2018.

CMB, a fund manager currently under liquidation, is also embroiled in a criminal case involving about P500 million in BPOPF assets that were allegedly misappropriated while under management. The entity was contracted by the BPOPF in 2014 to manage an initial P500 million investment mandate in private, unlisted equity.

The asset manager and the pension fund fell out in late 2017 following allegations of misappropriation, at which point CMB had reportedly being given P477 million to manage. In a report before court, CMB’s statutory manager, Peter Collins, laid out evidence of large scale misappropriation and a complex web of transactions where investments of the pension fund millions were made to obscure entities and interests.

 

Spy agent ‘Butterfly’ charged

DIS agent, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi was late this year charged with three counts. The 46-year-old former agent known as ‘Butterfly’ in spy circles was amongst others charged with allegedly financing terrorism by moving money around linked to former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi.  She is currently on bail. She is also accused of having the sum of $390m (about P4.2billion) in her personal account and having five different passports she used to travel around the world, of which one was a diplomatic passport, she has not surrendered to the police.



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