When the axed Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi and his wife Pinny Morupisi face trial on Monday, well known attorney Busang Manewe will be on defence while the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi will appear for the State.
While attention will be on the former PSP, who is the man in the dock and who is a high profile personality in his own right and perhaps so far the DPP’s relatively big catch in the so-called war against corruption, another spotlight will be on the attorneys from both sides.
Manewe is a household name thanks to the televised 2019 elections petitions in which he represented government and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. Through his performance then, the court of public opinion even bestowed on him the ceremonial celebrity lawyer title, it expropriated without compensation from Manewe’s close friend attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae.
Manewe had been the most sought-after attorney, especially in criminal cases even before the elections cases.
He does not crave publicity, but the man is like a Rottweiler as a defence lawyer, very destructive and aggressive especially in criminal cases. On his good day, Manewe can face anyone. He has high profile cases like the Kgori Capital that he won.
Kgori Capital, an asset management entity, was one of the companies that came under the spotlight when the National Petroleum Fund (NPF), a statutory fund run under the Energy Affairs Department, hit the headlines in late 2017.
The State then alleged that up to P250 million had been lost through money laundering linked to the national intelligence agency. At the time, Bakang Seretse was Kgori Capital director and he was also charged in the NPF scandal.
The DPP successfully froze Kgori’s accounts, arguing that the fund manager had helped itself to P10.5 million in management fees from the NPF despite the non-existence of a valid agreement. However, after vigorous fight by the asset manager, it was cleared of any criminal activity by the Court of Appeal on the much-publicised NPF scandal.
Last year in July,
And there is another famous Molepolole ritual murder case more than a decade ago in which Manewe successfully defended a traditional doctor who was caught in possession of human flesh which was linked to the deceased woman by DNA.
The helmsman at Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Tiroyakgosi is not well decorated. His court prowess is not well documented either. Some senior attorneys describe Tiroyakgosi as an old school lawyer who practises litigation at the time when ambush in criminal prosecution was the in-thing, that was before the ground-breaking decision of Wassim Ammed versus The State.
“He did practise when the legal profession was not regulated. In short, I’m trying to show you how far off he is from modern criminal law practice. Criminal law has evolved, both in content and practice,” one senior counsel said.
He said laws on financial impropriety, such as money laundering, racketeering and others, are new phenomena.
“How many cases has he done on that aspect of the law? Has he done even a single trial on that? I see disaster looming if he is the lead prosecutor. And I say this with utmost respect. He excels in many other areas, he seems to be managing the DPP well.”