FRANCISTOWN: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is playing havoc at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which regional office has been shut down following a case involving a driver testing positive for the virus.
The Francistown DPP office is housed within the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) – an extra-ministerial department under the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security – headed by the Attorney General (AG).
Government also took a decision to close the AG’s office as a precautionary step to curtail the spread of the virus following the confirmed COVID-19 case.
This information came to light at the Magistrates’ Courts and High Court in Francistown after lawyers from the DPP and AGC, failed to appear for matters logged since Monday.
Mmegi first came to learn of the DPP COVID-19 positive case on Tuesday when a prosecutor handling a matter in which MP for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi and his co-accused, Nnyana Kebitsang, was meant to appear for the child assault case, but failed to turn up in court.
The police officer that appeared on behalf of the state informed the court that the substantive prosecutor was absent in court because of a positive case detected at the DPP.
A prosecutor from the DPP told Mmegi on condition of anonymity that after the driver tested positive for the virus, a decision was taken to close the AGC as a health precautionary measure.
“Some of us were told to self-isolate at our homes, but have not yet been tested for the virus. Others deemed to have had primary contact with the driver have been tested for the virus and are awaiting their results. At this stage we are not aware when we will return to work,” the attorney said.
The latest COVID-19 incidences will likely increase case backlog in the country putting delays on justice as a result of the national lockdown that was induced in an effort to curb the spread of the virus since initial cases were detected.