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State deems Butterfly defamation claim as 'out of bounds'

MPHO MOKWAPE
Maswabi PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The State has deemed defamation allegations by the suspended Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent Welheminah Maswabi, known as ‘Butterfly’ in the spy world, as 'out of bounds'.

According to the State, the defamation claim should not be allowed in court as it is justifiable for utterances to have been made against Maswabi since they were/are part of legal proceedings before the Court.

In its notice of appearance to defend against the P30 million lawsuit Maswabi is also gunning for, the state says the alleged defamation employed qualified immunity and privilege legally. “The statements alleged to be defamatory were made in the course of legal proceedings against the plaintiff and were relevant to the matter at issue,” the state argued.

The State also explained that Maswabi’s summons was not acceptable for the reason that it did not disclose any cause of action against most of the defendants and that it lacked necessary declarations to sustain a cause of action.

The government wants the suit dismissed with costs while Maswabi is adamant that she was defamed and even called a terrorist. The 47-year-old Maswabi who was charged for, among others, financing terrorism before the charge was dropped for lack of evidence, is seeking for the State to act accordingly, and issue her an apology, retraction and said amount of payment for the alleged defamation. Maswabi said allegations in the charge sheet and statements contained in the affidavit of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Juko Hubona are

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defamatory as they falsely implicate her in the money laundering and financial terrorism offences.

Maswabi is alleging that the deposed affidavit by Hubona containing allegations among others that she was a co-signatory in various bank accounts at several banks held under entities known as Blue flies company into which large amounts of money were supposedly stolen from Bank of Botswana, were false and defamatory. Maswabi said the allegations were not only false but were also deliberately fabricated to make her look like a thief.

The agent also said she was surprised that Hubona made such damning allegations while the Bank of Botswana also denied such transactions of large amounts of money taking place. She is denying all the allegations made by the state and noted that as a consequence of the defamatory allegations she wants the director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution to withdraw and abandon the charges against her, which are pending before the Magistrate’s court.

She also wants the State to issue a public apology, a retraction and also cease publishing any further defamatory statements.

Meanwhile, Maswabi still has a pending case before the court where she is charged with two counts of possession of the unexplained property and false declaration of a passport. She is represented by Mack Bahuma Attorneys while S. Thapelo Attorneys represents the State.



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