Former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi and spouse, Pinny Morupisi are pleading with the court to discharge and acquit them of all charges the State has levelled against them.
The couple, who are facing charges of amongst others, corruption and money laundering, has through their defence team filed an application for a ‘no case to answer’ following weeks of State-led evidence from witnesses in court.
In their filed court documents on August 31, 2020 the accused persons want the court to dismiss the prosecution’s case against them arguing their (State) case was weak and limitations were endless.
According to the submissions the accused persons argue the State case’s fundamental weaknesses and limitations were sufficient for court to reach a conclusion that the case was mortally weak and deserved to be dismissed.
“All the accused persons are entitled to their acquittal. It will not be proper exercise of judicial discretion to hold that there is a case to answer against anyone of the accused persons. We pray for acquittal and discharge, and the Toyota Land Cruiser, the subject of these proceedings, be released,” read the documents.
The accused persons’ contention is that the State’s case was like a moving target as it keeps changing from one witness to another, especially as most having contradiction on whether the legal due diligence was done or not.
They pointed out that while witness Musa Nleya insisted that legal due diligence was done and that he was present, the prosecution on the other hand sought to say the tender was irregularly awarded because there was no legal due diligence.
Further, at the centre of the charges being the signing of the contract between Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and Capital Management Botswana (CMB), the accused persons pointed out that evidence had shown that the former PSP had never participated in the processing of the CMB tender right from floating of the tender to the awarding of it. Accordingly, Morupisi denied ever participating in any of the meetings and said what he only did was sign the agreement in pursuance of his duties as the chairperson.
He explained that there was absolutely nothing criminal that he did, as he was obliged to sign the agreement on behalf of BPOPF in terms of the rules of the fund.
The accused persons say that the prosecution had been destined to fail from the beginning because their case was built on wild and startling suspicions and also failure to handle exhibits properly.
“All other witnesses who were called had no knowledge of the key events at BPOPF which led to the charge before court. The State failed to call the following material witnesses who were there as the events unfolded, being Lesedi Moakofhi, who was the acting CEO and signed a contract and Emmah Peloetletse, who was a trustee and later chairperson of the finance and investment committee,” reads the document.
On the exhibits, the accused persons said the handling of potential exhibits that were seized from them in the form of documents were not properly handled such that one of the key exhibits, contract for sale of the Toyota Land Cruiser, entered into by Manor Squad Services and R7 Group had a second page missing.
According to the documents, the missing page reportedly contains paragraphs, which essentially describe the vehicle, purchase price, manner of paying the car, place of payment and the place where the vehicle was to be kept.
“It is difficult to imagine why this page went missing. In seizing the documents, the investigators did not take an inventory of items seized and did not maintain a proper record if the chain of custody of the seized items to ensure that they reach this court in the state they were in at the time of seizure.”
The State on the one hand in response said the application by the defence of ‘no case to answer’ lacked merit and should be dismissed as the prosecution had led evidence on which a reasonable tribunal of fact, properly directed, might convict the accused persons of the offences charged.
In the filed documents dated September 8, 2020, contention is that the prosecution has led tons and tons of evidence against all accused persons and how the evidence was intricately linked from signing the BPOPF and CMB contract, to how drawdown were unlawfully diverted and through a web of personal relations, BPOPF funds were laundered.
The State said the plan to conceal the sale of the vehicle at the core of the proceedings, was hatched well before it was even delivered from the garage.
“The accused further tried to conceal the origin of the motor vehicle by signing an agreement of sale of used motor vehicle to make it look like the vehicle in question was a legitimate contract of sale. On closer look at the contract, it was a façade attended rashness to cover up criminal transaction,” the prosecution stated.
The State also submitted that Manor Squad was used as a vehicle to conceal a fact that the true giver of the valuable consideration was CMB and Morupisi actively participated in the orchestrated plan for the benefit of all the accused persons.
Attorney Busang Manewe led the defence team while Priscilla Israel led prosecution.