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Court denies 'Butterfly' costs

MPHO MOKWAPE
Maswabi PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Gaborone High Court has refused to grant suspended Directorate of Intelligent Services (DIS) agent, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi costs for her litigation following her plea to that effect.

The 46-year-old Maswabi known as Butterfly who is charged with financing terrorism by moving money around linked to former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi had asked state to pay her costs on grounds that it did not have evidence against her in all charges she is facing. 

Justice Michael Mothobi when delivering a ruling on Monday said there was no adequate ground for granting costs to her.

He explained that for the state to have not opposed the her bail does not necessarily mean that it concedes that the charges against her lack substance.

“That issue remains for the trial court to determine based on whether there is credible and reliable evidence to support the prosecution case,” he said. 

Justice Mothobi pointed out that Maswabi alleged no prejudice when the state was ordered to have filed by a certain date but instead only filed a notice of non-opposition, as that was its prerogative.

Mothobi also said though he agreed with the applicant’s submission that all this mean the very serious allegations of professional misconduct made in the founding affidavit remain unchallenged and thus accepted as facts, it was without qualification.

“I agree but not without qualification. Even if all this were true, I would be hesitant to adjudicate merely on suspicion that the applicant did not commit the alleged offences,” he said.

He further explained that one more thing to look at was the bail conditions negotiated and agreed between counsels for both parties, which he noted that he rather think they are on the stringent side. 

Mothobi said it only goes to show just how serious counsel views the charges against the applicant to

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be.

The background of the matter is that Maswabi who is on suspension from had appeared before court seeking costs explaining that she had on many occasions in her applications submitted evidence that the state failed to challenge or prove as false.

According to her lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi the state’s papers it knowingly concealed evidence in an attempt to portray his client as high end and an extremely dangerous criminal.

He pointed out that DPP knowingly withheld crucial information and went to the extent of manufacturing evidence to incriminate his client. 

However, the state opposed the costs payment on grounds that the allegations in the form of experts sourced from South Africa that Maswabi presented before court to discredit its evidence would be found by the trial court.

In its papers, the state through its lawyer Omphemetse Makale said it appeared that Maswabi seemed to suggest to court that the act on its part not to address the allegations in her affidavit is a reason enough to attract punishment by paying her costs.

Among others, Maswabi is accused of having the sum of U$D390m in her personal account and having five different passports she used to travel across the world of which one is a diplomatic which she has not surrendered to the police.

She is charged because she was reportedly the signatory to the accounts that were used to transfer money, some of which was in the sum of P48million.

The state also accused her of being in an intimate relationship with the former DIS chief Kgosi and that they had discussions of moving the money around during their love escapades.



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