Has the death of former Debswana managing director, Louis Nchindo invited fissures in his impregnable co-accused team?
This is the question after charges against Jacob Sesinyi, former Debswana communications manager were dropped on Monday by the prosecution in the graft case where Nchindo was the big fish.
Sesinyi was facing up to six counts in which he was jointly accused with Nchindo. The charges alleged that the duo obtained money from Debswana by false pretences on six occasions, contrary to Section 308 of the Penal Code.
The charge sheet says that all the money obtained was meant to facilitate the visit of the now disgraced United States Congressman William Jefferson to Botswana.
It says that Nchindo and Sesinyi falsely pretended that the money was for "expenses of an official visit by William Jefferson, when at all material times the accused persons knew the said trips were a private visit by Congressman Jefferson and not an official Debswana visit".
After the charges were dropped, there have been suggestions that Sesinyi, acting without the full knowledge of his co-accused could have negotiated a deal with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Sesinyi has laughed off the claims saying they are preposterous and malicious. "There is an impression that I gave out a new statement to DPP but that is false as I last gave a statement to DPP some five years ago. It would have been understandable if I had given the DPP a new statement," he told Mmegi.
Mmegi: Did you negotiate with DPP to have your charges dropped so that you could sing against your former co-accused?
Sesinyi: I do not think that is even allowed. I have only been charged with Nchindo in the six counts and Nchindo is dead and I am told he will have no case. Look at the charge sheet. I have only been charged on the same counts with Nchindo. Who will I be giving evidence against?
Mmegi: Will you go and give evidence if you are called by DPP?
Sesinyi: I will be subpoenaed and once you are subpoenaed you have no choice. I am not an accomplice witness or a state witness.
Meanwhile DPP will not want to shed light on the alleged trade-off with Sesinyi. But Team Nchindo's lawyer, Parks Tafa surmises that there could only be one reason why the charges against Sesinyi were dropped.
He said that the DPP lawyers have realised that they could not sustain the charges against Sesinyi, particularly without Nchindo.
He explained that Sesinyi was reporting to Nchindo who authorised the payments and now that the former Debswana boss is no more, the charges cannot withstand the test. He does not believe that Sesinyi could be bailing out on them. However, he added that only Sesinyi can clarify whether he is bailing out or not. Meanwhile the DPP has indicated that they are withdrawing charges with prejudice. This means the charges might be reinstated in future.