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State refuses to return Kgosi’s seized guns

MPHO MOKWAPE
Isaac Kgosi PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The State has refused to acknowledge former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi’s demands for his seized guns to be returned but rather chose to defend its decision to hold the weapons in its custody despite not laying  charges against him.

Earlier this year, Kgosi through a notice of motion demanded his guns back that were seized from his house by the State following a raid on him.

The former director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), is seeking the Court to compel the government to return his firearms and ammunition that were seized in February 2019. However, the State is defending its decision to seize the guns on the grounds that there is reasonable justification as it  believes the guns were obtained  unlawfully. The State in its filed notice of opposition to Kgosi’s demand is that there was sufficient ground to suggest that proper procedure was not followed when the guns were obtained. “The firearms and ammunition are part of an ongoing investigations and they were lawfully seized through a search warrant,” argued the State.

According to the State, the firearms and ammunition are in custody for proper investigations. They will be released once investigations were complete and the ex-spy chief is cleared of any wrongdoing in obtaining them, the State said.

The parties are headed to court for arguments on the matter on August 25, 2021.

According to Kgosi’s case his guns were seized on February 15, 2019 following a raid at his residence in Phakalane.   

He said on that fateful day he had a rude awakening when officers from the Botswana Police Service and the DIS served him with a warrant of entry then searched and seized his property without explaining to him why and what charges he was facing. Kgosi explained that during the raid the officers took his firearms and ammunition in different models that he legally owned.

In his founding affidavit, Kgosi said there has been a pattern of harassment against him, which explained the seizure of his firearms and ammunition. “The State has not at any point attempted to provide the reasonable basis for holding onto my property,” he said. “They have failed to indicate what offence they are investigating or why it is necessary to hold onto the property for the purposes of any investigation, if any.”

The former DIS boss also said he has never been interviewed regarding the purported probe. He added it was unreasonable for the State to hold onto his property on the basis of mere allegations.

He argued that the pattern of harassment continued with the frequent search at his house, which was done at the most inconvenient of times. Kgosi said when he asked why his property was being seized when he had permits to hold them,

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he was told by the officers that they wanted to know how he acquired them and how they were licensed.

“The officers seized the firearms and ammunition despite me providing them with necessary permits or licences. They also took away the permits with them,” he said. “It is for this reason that I am unable to annex copies of the permits to the papers in proof of my legal right to hold firearms.”

Kgosi pointed out that it was now over a year and eight months since the police took the firearms and ammunition while they entirely belong to him legally. He said there was no legal nor reasonable basis for the seizure of the firearms. Kgosi asserted that they were not unlawfully acquired and that they have not been used in any unlawful activity to warrant seizure. He further noted that there were no ongoing investigations against him that forces the State to continue holding onto his property. He said if there was any, they would have long interviewed him or taken action against him.

“Even if there were investigations there has been no attempt whatsoever by the State to show how the firearms and ammunition are connected with whatever offence is being investigated. It is on this basis that failure to disclose the nature of the investigation that I want my property back,” Kgosi said.

He explained that the whole thing fits in with a pattern of harassment the respondents have and are subjecting him to. Kgosi noted it was not difficult to fathom taking into account his relationship with the State and the harassment he has been receiving.

The former DIS head said the harassment was also evident in the way he was removed from his job. He pointed out that the way he was terminated from the intelligence unit was meant to humiliate him and portray him to the public as a rogue and a menace to the establishment. “The contents of the letter of dismissal were disclosed to me by the permanent secretary to the President in front of my junior officers, I was not given even the opportunity to properly hand over the rights to my successor,” he said.

Kgosi said from there, it followed with a series of harassments including his arrest and constant search of his house until the seizure of the firearms and ammunition were taken from him. According to his papers, he wants his firearms and ammunition back and for the State to pay the costs of the suit.



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