Asset management expert, Tim Marsland of the now liquidated asset management company, CMB, is pleading with the Botswana courts to save him from the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19).
Marsland fears it is only a matter of time before the virus gets him while he is incarcerated.
He has been held in a South African prison facility since July 2019 at the behest of the Botswana law enforcement authorities.
In urgent court papers filed with the High Court in June, Marsland says, “I am an extremely high-risk person and in the event I contract the disease there is a real likelihood and possibility I may die from it”.
South Africa’s official COVID-19 national cases are over 100,000, while in prisons, the virus has already infected 1,452 people, amongst them 921 inmates and 531 officials, resulting in eight deaths in prisons, according to official records.
The situation has led to that country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, pardoning 20,000 low risks inmates in May in a bid to fight COVID-19 in crowded facilities.
However, Marsland says he would not benefit from South Africa’s pardon since he is not a convicted criminal.
In his latest urgent court action to review and set aside the warrant of arrest used to secure his detention at South Africa’s prison facility, Marsland argues in court papers filed on June 19 that the COVID-19 pandemic has added a complex and life threatening dimension to his continued detention in prison.
“I remain under constant fear, worry and mental anguish of the possible infection by coronavirus. Presently quite a substantial number of both prison warders and prisoners are suffering from the deadly coronavirus, and this exposes and places me at a very, very high risk that I might contract the disease.”
Marsland further cites his
He also fears that without him near his aging mother in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is in danger of being killed by the virus too without having anyone taking care of her.
Marsland also fears that the lockdowns in South Africa and Botswana will delay the court processes. The lockdown, which have limited the movement of people between the two countries has only added to delays in Botswana authorities initiating the extradition process, something he fears could now take years while he continues to languish in prison without any charges.
Marsland says from his observation the attitude of Botswana authorities is no longer about seeing justice prevailing but is more to do with meting the worst cruelty possible on him, like seeing him languish in jail without trial or charges for as long as it takes.
Marsland reveals that since his detainment last July, the Botswana authorities have not cared to furnish him with his charges, or to initiate any extradition process, yet they had been zealous to oppose all his attempts to set aside the warrant of arrest or bail.
He has also furnished the court with what he terms audited financials of CMB.
International audit firm, Grant Thornton, did the independent audit report that Marsland said should put to rest any accusations of mismanagement of Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund assets as all expenditure is accounted for, therefore, subsequent arrest and liquidation of CMB “are deliberately based on untruths”.