Not long ago, we published an Editorial Comment headlined “Justice delayed is justice denied’ in relation to the tendency of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) to rush to charge suspected criminals left, right and centre, only for the cases to stall before the trial commences.
This remains a public concern on a justice system. May be the Directorate should be rechristened the Directorate of Public Persecution given spates of botched attempts at prosecution.
But this week, we learnt with shock that an office of the same DPP is actually broke to an extent that it is unable to transport its officers (prosecutors) to Court for cases they are prosecuting.
The story says a trial involving one Gobuamang Ntsuape who is charged with several offences including murder, five counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson failed to appear before Justice Lot Moroka because of lack of funds for food, transport and accommodation at the DPP branch in Maun where the prosecutor is based.
The trial was scheduled to continue at Francistown High Court. The stand-in prosecutor told the court that the DPP in Maun would only have funds to address the situation after April 1, 2020. The turn of events means that the trial will continue in May.
Obviously, this did not go down well with the Court, the defence counsel and the accused. Of course, it could mean one thing for the accused; the matter is postponed, new dates are set suitable for both parties and that he gets to spend even more time behind bars.
This can’t be right at all. What is happening at this institution? Are the authorities serious about the liberties of the people they prosecute? Batswana will start to even lose trust in the institution due to laxity of the office.
If the DPP branch is broke
Further, it is catastrophic for a government department that understands the financial cycle of government to run out of funds before that time arrives. Rather, return some funds at the end of the financial year than to fail to execute your mandate because you have run out of funds.
It is not clear whether this running out of funds was caused by under-budgeting or misuse. But it should not have happened at all.
Despite that, one thing for certain is that the directorate wasted a large sum of money chasing fabricated and staged charges against some citizens fighting personal battles of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS).
Now, everything is in shambles at the once mighty DPP: citizen staff exodus is the order of the day, senior influential positions are held by foreigners, the head of the directorate is clueless and lacks backbone, the list is endless. In fact the DIS Director General runs the DPP.
It is a case of two blind mice leading each other. He is the one who decides who gets prosecuted and who does not. We once again emphasise that Justice delayed is justice denied principle. We call on the department to improve its budgeting systems and rectify this situation ASAP!
“Money isn’t everything, but it’s right
up there with oxygen.”
– Rita Davenport