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Marsland faces 30 criminal charges

MONKAGEDI GAOTHOBOGWE
Marsland PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
With 30 criminal charges awaiting  him in Botswana, disgraced founder of assets management company, Capital Management Botswana (CMB), Tim Marsland, is currently languishing in a Johannesburg cell since July last year.

 Mmegi can reveal that documents show that 24 of those charges relate to money laundering, five of which are obtaining by false pretences and one of attempt to obtain by false pretence.

According to investigations, the charges were first shared with Marsland's attorneys around April 2019, while the charge sheet was shared in August 2019, a month after he was locked up.  

Following a successful Interpol operation launched in March 2019, Marsland was nabbed at the OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa on July 12, 2019. 

The charges also appear in the State's response in Marsland's urgent court application of October 2019, where the charge sheet is annexed as proof that he has been charged, contrary to his recent assertion that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has kept him in prison ‘without’ any charges.

It would appear that Marsland and his attorneys were informed of the charges around April 2019, when the DPP informed Marsland's attorneys during the exchange of letters about the charges that had been preferred against his client, and further that Marsland had failed to present himself to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to be interviewed.  

The DPP, however, impressed upon Marsland's attorneys the importance of Marsland's side of the story and that his unavailability for interviews by investigators was not helpful. 

Their correspondence, seen by Mmegi, showed the attorneys representing Marsland attempting to respond to the various charges in writing. He did not present himself in person. 

Investigations also reveal that Marsland was subpoenaed for CMB creditors meetings, but only the resident director attended. According to evidence pieced together by this publication, the DPP appeared to have run out of patience with Marsland by March 2019 leading to his arrest through Interpol because of failure to avail himself, instead choosing to respond with statements through his attorneys. 

Despite initiating the process to have Marsland arrested in South Africa in March, the

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DPP still requested his attorneys to have Marsland in the country to be interviewed in June 2019.  

However, Marsland in defence claimed he had always been ready to avail himself when needed by the police, and that it was not indicated to him that he was wanted by the investigators in person until he was apprehended on July 12, 2019, a move he complained was unlawful and unconstitutional. 

The Interpol Red Notice issued a statement that Marsland had laundered P200 million from the P500 million of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) he was entrusted to invest, and that the laundered money had reached South Africa where property was bought.  

The Interpol notice also said he faced a fine of P200 million or 20 years in jail.  Marsland was further accused of attempting to obtain by false pretences from First National Bank (FNB) Botswana, an amount of P71 million, when he allegedly issued an instruction for a transfer of the P71 million from a Botswana Life Insurance account at FNB to CMB, a company he owned.  

For this alleged crime alone, he faces seven years in jail if convicted. As to why he had not been charged yet, perhaps the answer is in the letter that the DPP wrote Marsland's lawyers in August last year, explaining why only his partner, Rapula Okaile, had been charged and taken to court. 

In that letter, the DPP stated Marsland was a fugitive from justice with no locus standi in the Courts of Botswana and therefore nothing shall be addressed on his behalf until jurisdiction over him was assumed. 

Meanwhile in his court bids to set aside the warrant of arrest and get out of jail, Marsland claimed there were no money laundering activities and that the multiple transactions unearthed by the judicial manager of CMB were for purposes of buying out various shareholders during the takeover of companies.



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