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State drops financing terrorism charge against 'Butterfly'

MPHO MOKWAPE
Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi in court PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The complexity of investigation into the financing terrorism charge against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi has forced the state to drop it.

Maswabi, known as ‘Butterfly’ in the spy circles, appeared before Regional Magistrate Goodwill Makofi today, where prosecutor Priscilla Israel requested the charge be dropped with liberty to reinstate it at a later date when enough evidence has been gathered.

Israel cited difficulties with the investigation.

“The charge on its own is very complex and also investigations involve gathering evidence as far as across borders, so only focusing on it will delay the trial. We seek that the charge be dropped in the meantime with liberty to reinstate it. This will allow the trial to commence on the two remaining charges without delay,” she said.

The defence team of Unoda Mack and Uyapo Ndadi did not oppose the charge being dropped, but made it clear that the charge will be dealt with separately as it cannot be introduced in the middle of trial for the remaining two charges already put against their client.

The 47-year-old Butterfly now remains charged with two counts being possession of unexplained property and false declaration of a passport. 

According to the particulars of offence on the count of possession of unexplained property, “The accused person also known as Lorato Hilton on a date unknown to the prosecutor but between December 1, 2018

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and October 17, 2019 in Gaborone whilst employed as a civil servant, to wit, a computer programmer at DIS was in control of pecuniary resources disproportionate to her present or past known sources of income or assets.”

On the other count, false declaration of passport, she is accused of intent to obtain a passport by making a false statement to an immigration officer to the effect that her names were Lorato Hilton when it was not true.

Meanwhile before the charge of financing terrorism was dropped, she was accused of moving money around linked to former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi.

She was also accused of having the sum of $390m in her personal account and having five different passports she used to travel across the world of which one is a diplomatic passport and that she has not surrendered to the police.

The state had said Butterfly was charged because she was the signatory to the accounts that were used to transfer money, some of which was in the sum of P48m.

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

Butterfly has denied all the allegations.



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