Experts punch holes in 'Butterfly' case

Maswabi has applied for fresh bail hearing. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Maswabi has applied for fresh bail hearing. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Holes are starting to appear in the country’s most captivating case in which P100 billion has allegedly been looted.

Before any evidence could take hold against fingered high profile figures, gaping holes are already being punched through the case, raising eyebrows and even more questions as to whether charges against the accused, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent, Welheminah Maswabi, whose code name is ‘Butterfly’, are nothing more than a public relations façade.  If so, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

As it is, South African institutions named in the controversial case are poking holes in the case.

The companies in South Africa that Butterfly is alleged to be involved in do not exist; the accounts in the South African banks said to be holding the staggering amounts of money in which she is alleged to be a signatory do not exist; and the preliminary digital forensic report dismissed the purported e-mail exchanges between Maswabi and ex-spy chief, Isaac Kgosi, as not authentic. 

Maswabi, a senior intelligence officer, is charged with financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property and false declaration for passport.

It is alleged that Khama and Kgosi instructed Bank of Botswana (BoB) to open three bank accounts that were used to loot public funds amounting to over P100 billion.

This has been revealed in an affidavit a Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime investigator, Jako Hubona, deposed in court in a case against Maswabi.

On November 1, 2019, Nedbank responded to South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe, who was also mentioned in court for being a signatory to some bank accounts with Maswabi saying she cannot be a signatory on non-existent accounts.

“The opposing affidavit references accounts at Nedbank in the names of Blue Flies (Pty) Ltd and Fire Flies (Pty) Ltd with account numbers 8061923840 and 1099810081 respectively… After conducting a search on our Nedbank systems, we have been unable to find any accounts in the name of Blue Flies (Pty) Ltd / Blueflies (Pty) Ltd / Fire Flies (Pty) Ltd / Fireflies (Pty) Ltd, nor any accounts with the account numbers mentioned in paragraph 3 above,” Nedbank legal advisor, Marc Eskinazi wrote to Motsepe-Radebe.

He concluded: “It therefore follows that you cannot be, and are not, a signatory on such non-existent accounts”.

Also on November 11, one of the biggest banks in South Africa, Absa, wrote to one of Maswabi’s attorneys, Uyapo Ndadi, that Absa has no record of any account with designated number 40892246893.

“The document provided under cover of your letter headed Business Client Agreement and marked as “L”, does not appear to be an Absa generated document,” Absa Managing Executive – Wealth Management, Winston Monale said.

Sandton-based Basileus Consilium Professional Services (Pty) Ltd (BCPS), which was mandated by Ndadi to establish the authenticity of the evidence utilised in the Maswabi court application.

They were to also establish whether companies Royal Bank of Scotland, Fire Flies Inc and Blue Flies Inc are registered in South Africa.

The scope of the BCPS digital forensic investigation was to establish the authenticity of the relevant evidence, particularly the e-mails, and render any related services as may be required.

In their investigative summary, they said the domain appears in the e-mail addresses that were used.

“It is our conclusion that these emails are fabricated,” BCPS’s senior digital forensic analyst, Johan Benjamin Minnaar said. Minnaar also said at face value, the documents, that is the High Court application annexures, appear to be fraudulent as they could very easily have been produced by a word processor such as Microsoft Word, in order to provide a veneer of authenticity to those e-mails, which are relied upon in the High Court application.

In Minnaar’s affidavit before court he concluded that the e-mails appear to be fabricated and fraudulent. He also concluded that the aforementioned companies are not registered in South Africa with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

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