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Jailed Marsland in another spirited bail attempt

MONKAGEDI GAOTHOBOGWE
Jailed Marsland in another spirited bail attempt
It seems jailed assets manager, Timothy Gordon Marsland of Capital Management Botswana (CMB), currently detained in South Africa, has adopted the never say die, never give up attitude in his bid to see sunrise as a free man again. 

Unbeknown to many, including the media, Marsland had been on a smooth operator mode since he was detained at a Johannesburg prison cell last July, from where he silently launched a series of bail attempts closely guarded from media attention. So smooth and covert had Marsland's modus operandi been that he managed to quietly launch as many as five different court cases on Botswana soil, without anyone noticing. 

Mmegi can reveal that the latest attempt is the fifth in Botswana and his eighth in total, with three others having been lodged in South Africa, nonetheless without a breakthrough.

Marsland and his now liquidated asset management company are accused of defrauding public officers pension fund, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) of P450 million entrusted to invest in various entities locally.  

In a move that backfired badly for Marsland, at the height of his conflict with the BPOPF, CMB had bought BPOPF out of the investment arm, BOP, for a paltry P50 million, despite BPOPF having pumped P450 million.

The revelation that Marsland's legal team is now in court in Botswana also sheds light as to how hard he has been fighting for his release from prison, since being apprehended in July last year at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, at the request of the Botswana law authorities for his alleged role in the heist of BPOPF’s P450 million.

It would seem Marsland's spirited prison bail attempts were double-edged from-the-word-go with several separate but related cases also launched and lost in South Africa, where he made more than three attempts that hit a snag. 

He may have already been incarcerated since July last year, but not a month of the 12 he spent in jail went by without Marsland slugging it out in the courts for the freedom he

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pursues.  Records indicate that Marsland soon challenged his incarceration throughout July of 2019, but the matter did not conclude until early August when news trickled in from South Africa that he had failed in his bid. By mid-September last year, which was his third month in jail, Marsland attempted to get his warrant of arrest rescinded, this time at the Village Magistrate’s Court in Gaborone, but he saw the case failing apart when the court directed him to go and plead before the same magistrate's court that issued the warrant of his arrest or alternatively to apply for review of proceedings at the High Court. 

 October 1, 2019 saw Marsland's lawyers filling an urgent review of the matter at the High Court in Botswana with Justice Itumeleng Segopolo finding some defects in the case.  

His lawyers kept the case alive by withdrawing it from the court before the ruling could be delivered to allow them to live to fight another day.

The matter was relaunched on October 31, 2019 and was heard by Justice Chris Gabanagae on November 19, 2019.  However, the State's oppositon further complicated matters for Marsland.   

Not one to surrender, there was more court action in February and March 2020. Another urgent  court case was dismissed with costs as a Botswana court ruled that the matter was not urgent.

After the setbacks, in April, the Marsland team was back in South African courts, whose ruling in early May 2020 was also not favourable to the applicant, thereby necessitating the latest attempt.   

He has filed on urgency on the basis that new circumstances are at play, namely the real, dreaded and deadly risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19) hovering over his head, currently a pandemic ravaging South African prisons and Cyril Ramaphosa's country at large.



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