DIS chickens out of court case with Sebina brothers

Sebina brothers with Unoda Mack.PIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Sebina brothers with Unoda Mack.PIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has abandoned its appeal case against the Sebina brothers, opting instead to settle out of court.

The intelligence agency was disputing damages awarded to the Sebinas after they won against the Directorate in a civil suit for reputational damage and humiliation. The DIS had accused them of criminal dealings with former head of the Directorate, Isaac Kgosi. The brothers - Kegone, Tshepo and Ewetse - are directors of Estate Construction company. In the lawsuit, the DIS had failed to prove that the company had in the past won most government tenders suspiciously. After they were awarded millions of pula for humiliation and reputational damage, the DIS lodged an appeal challenging the quantum as excessively high.

The appeal was expected to be heard on Friday when the DIS decided to backtrack. In their lawsuit, the Sebina brothers and five others also alleged loss of business resulting from their blacklisting by the DIS in a court case heard in 2022. State attorney, Sifelani Thapelo appearing before Court of Appeal judges Isaac Lesetedi, Edwin Cameron and Johan Froneman said an agreement had been reached with Estate Construction and others to have the matter settled out of court. “We have reached and signed a memorandum of settlement and we would like it to be made the order of the court,” said the State attorney.

Unoda Mack representing the brothers and their company confirmed the new developments, but would not reveal the details of the settlement agreement. The DIS and the Sebina brothers have a long history of playing cat and mouse, with the latter alleging constant harassment by the spy agency. On February 13, 2019 they were subjected to a search and seizure by the DIS following a warrant of entry, search and seizure granted by a Gaborone magistrate court. The Sebinas would later have the last laugh in 2020 when the warrant against them was rescinded by Principal Magistrate Batho Kgerethwa.

The magistrate also ordered DIS boss, Peter Magosi, to return all documents and properties seized from the business premises of the Sebinas. The search and seizure warrant was related to Tshepho Tile Products, Estate Construction and Estate Property Investments co-owned by Kegone and Tshepo. In his court application in February 2019, the DIS chief had claimed that investigations carried were directed against all those suspected to be associated with Kgosi. Magosi would later clear the Sebina brothers of any wrongdoing and said they were free to do business with anyone.

In their lawsuit, the Sebinas said following harassment at the hands of the DIS, their companies had for several years been severely affected by being blacklisted as they could not access financial assistance from the banks. Also that at one time they had to retrench staff at one of their projects as the government was not paying them.

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