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State withdraws crucial Butterfly charge

MPHO MOKWAPE
Maswabi PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seems to have hit a brick wall in its quest to prosecute Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) suspended agent, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi popularly known as Butterfly for the most crucial charge amongst charges she is facing.

After charging Maswabi with three counts including financing terrorism, the State has backed down admitting difficulty on the charge and its ability to gather evidence.

Prosecutions counsel, Priscilla Israel on Tuesday before Court admitted complexity of investigations regarding the charge saying it has forced the State to drop the matter.

Before Regional Magistrate Goodwill Makofi, Israel requested for the charge to be dropped with liberty to reinstate it at a later date when enough evidence would have been gathered.

Israel cited difficulties with the investigation regarding the charge explaining that it was best for them to drop the charge, as it will delay the trial. “The charge on its own is very complex and also investigations as they involve gathering evidence as far as across boarders, 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 issue be dealt with separately as it could not be introduced in the middle of the trial for the remaining two charges against their client.

The 47-year-old Butterfly now remains charged with two counts of being possession of unexplained property and

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false declaration of a passport. The particulars of offence on count of possession of unexplained property say “the accused person also known as Lorato Hilton on a date unknown to the prosecutor but between December 1, 2018 and October 17, 2019 in Gaborone whilst employed as a civil servant, to wit, a computer programmer at DIS was in control pf pecuniary resources disproportionate to her present or past known sources of income or assets”. On count of false declaration of passport she is accused of with 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.

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 U$D390 million in her personal account and having five different passports she used to travel across the world of which one is a diplomatic and that she has not surrendered to the police.

The State had said Butterfly was charged because she was a signatory to the accounts that were used to transfer money, some of which was in the sum of P48 million.

She has denied all the allegations. The case goes back to Court on February 11, 2021.



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