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Khama threatens legal suite for defamation

STAFF WRITER
Khama in his office PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Former President Ian Khama will sue an investigator for defamation and perjury after he was implicated in a corruption scandal, accusing him of syphoning-off money to fund terrorism during his reign.

Khama revealed this after a forensic investigation found allegations against him, South African businesswoman, Bridgette Motsepe, ex-spy chief, Isaac Kgosi and spy agent, Welheminah ‘Butterfly’ Maswabi were fabricated.

On Wednesday, Omnia Strategy LLP, an international law firm founded by Cherie Blair and Alaco Ltd, a leading business intelligence and investigations firm, released the findings of their forensic investigation titled ‘Project Monarch: Flies & Lies’.

Just before October general election in 2019, Khama and other high profile figures were accused by an investigations officer, Jako Hubona of illicitly funding regime change in Botswana by embezzling P100 billion.  Hubona claimed that Khama, Kgosi, and Maswabi had transferred some of the funds to HSBC Bank in Hong Kong to purchase intelligence equipment while the rest was pumped it into offshore as well as South African bank accounts.

“As you just heard, the regime here has engaged in perjury by fabricating a false scenario of money laundering into offshore accounts by named individuals and institutions.

Our hard earned reputation of good governance and respect for the rule of law has now been ruined as a result of clumsy and irresponsible conduct and actions of a regime desperate to legitimise itself, tarnish the reputation of those targeted and settle petty political scores,” Khama said during a webinar press conference.

He added that first of all they have decided that the report just released, including the fabricated affidavit, should be made available to the public and key stakeholders and interested parties including all local and international media; civil society; international organisations, human rights organisations, and financial institutions given that Bank of Botswana has been dragged into this mud and all diplomatic missions.

“Personally I and other victims of this farce will be instituting the necessary legal action, as advised, against this regime, all elements within it as may be appropriate based on defamation and perjury.” Furthermore, the former president said it is a clear imperative that they investigate the political motive of the affidavit.

“The conduct of state actors in this matter is a clear demonstration of the violation of our laws and Constitution, exacerbated by reckless and wasteful use of public funds with impunity, in pursuit of political agenda.

Besides recent allegations of election rigging during our 2019 elections, clearly the current regime has lost any claim to legitimacy as they do not have credibility.”

For her part Blair said: “The results of our investigations are clear and conclusive: there is no evidence to support any of the allegations against President Khama and Ambassador Motsepe. The claims of financial impropriety originating with accounts at the Bank of Botswana are pure fiction. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that if Jako Hubona’s allegations had been properly investigated, it would have been obvious to any reasonable and fair minded prosecutor or court that the case should be abandoned for lack of credible evidence and doubts over the integrity of the State’s witness”.

The wife of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair added

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that instead the Court, and the public at large, have been presented with an affidavit where fake news, spurious allegations, clumsily manufactured evidence and baseless accusations inform a preposterous conspiracy theory riddled with inaccuracies and blatant falsehoods with a fantastical script involving former presidents, spies and billions of Pula, US Dollars and Rands.

“The matter would deserve little more than ridicule if only the State’s case did not have such devastating effects for the people targeted and caught up in the web of lies which traduce South Africa itself.”

She said they have seen the allegations cast an unnecessary shadow over the South Africa Reserve Bank and more recently the Department of Justice, National Prosecuting Authority and Department of International Relations and Cooperation. She said this should never have been allowed to happen. “Indeed, the extent of the untruths we have uncovered, without much difficulty, gives rise to serious questions about the motives behind the affidavit. We would hope that the evidence in this report provides the impetus for the Botswana prosecuting authorities to drop this matter,” said Blair.

Former South African Public Protector and Chair of Social Justice Research at Stellenbosch University, Thuli Madonsela, who has independently reviewed the evidence and investigative report, said this report exonerates Khama and Motsepe of serious allegations.

“The devastating findings are a stain on the reputation of Botswana, which has always been considered a bastion of democracy and the rule of law. While we know there are many ethical and competent public servants in Botswana, it is a shame that the actions of a few have been allowed to have such a profound and damaging impact on President Khama, Ambassador Motsepe, and the financial institutions of Botswana and South Africa.  It is a tragedy that they have had to spend so much time, energy and resources on clearing their names and impugned integrity,” Madonsela said.

She added: “These allegations have not only tarnished the good names of President Khama and Ambassador Motsepe, who are individuals of unimpeachable integrity, but have also tarnished the good name and reputations of the many financial institutions that have been implicated. 

This country’s financial services sector, and our Reserve Bank, are globally recognised institutions.  This report makes it clear that the allegations, like many of the bank accounts, are bogus. I hope that this matter will be taken up at the highest level of the financial regulatory bodies and law enforcement in both Botswana and South Africa”. 

She said while the focus of this report is the money laundering allegations, which have been comprehensively dismantled, serious questions arise over the other charges against Maswabi and Kgosi.

“If the State’s case concerning the money has been found hopelessly wanting, it follows that all charges and proceedings based on the fictional affidavit must fall. What follows must be compensation for resources used, reputations impaired and the consequent pain and suffering endured by all that have been wrongfully and recklessly maligned,” said Madonsela.



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