Spotlight on Judge Radijeng in Seretse case

Justice Dr Radijeng
Justice Dr Radijeng

High Court judge, Godfrey Radijeng, is set to decide whether to admit late filings by fund manager, Bakang Seretse in a matter in which the latter is fighting to protect his assets from forfeiture.

Seretse is one of the accused persons in the ongoing P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering case. He recently filed supporting affidavits from former minister Dikgakgamatso Seretse, former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander Gaolathe Galebotswe and former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi late by a little over two months.

The filings essentially rebut the affidavit of Moefi Seikano, BDF ground forces commander, who, amongst other matters, said the defence forces had the sole mandate for anti-poaching.

The question of whether the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) had the right to divert the NPF funds to allegedly buy anti-poaching equipment, is one of the key arguments of the case Seretse and others are facing.

On November 5, arguments will commence, partly focusing on whether Judge Radijeng will indulge Seretse’s late filing of the affidavits.

In a supplementary affidavit, Bakang Seretse said Radijeng had granted leave to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is the respondent in the matter, allowing the filing of evidence nearly two years past the close of pleadings stage. “In particular the Court admitted the affidavits of Moefi Seikano, Baruti Regoeng, Moses Tshelwane and Elijah Motshedi, into the record,” Seretse said.

As the applicant, Seretse was to file answers to the supplementary affidavits within 21 court days. “The 21 days expired on or about 13th August, 2020. The applicant is therefore out of town by a little over two months, in filing its answer. The respondent does not stand to suffer any prejudice with the applicants’ late filing. “There is no need, even, to postpone the date of hearing. There is ample time between now, and the date set, for the respondent to organise its thoughts. In any case, it is the respondents who set this process in motion by filing supplementary affidavits that materially changed the cause of action, out of time.”

Seretse said realising that their case was a lost cause, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) filed the supplementary affidavits to rebuild their case afresh, by bringing in allegations of fraud, mainly against Kgosi, who they had at the restraining order stages used as a deponent in support of their application.

“They now sought to paint Isaac Seabelo Kgosi, and myself, in bad light,” the asset manager said.

He added that the respondent sought from the BDF’s ground force commander Major General Molefi Seikano, an affidavit, the essence of which was to suggest that Kgosi had connived with him [Bakang Seretse] to defraud the government.

In his affidavit, Kgosi stated that he never connived with either Khulaco (Pty) Ltd or Dignia Security (Pty) Ltd to defraud the government of any funds, adding that such a claim was false.

“Goods procured from Dignia Security (Pty) Ltd and paid through Khulaco (Pty) Ltd have been delivered and are being used by the DIS.”

Khulaco is a company owned by Seretse that facilitated payments to Dignia, an Israeli firm, for the alleged supply of military equipment and surveillance platforms with associated training over three years. The deal was sealed in 2017. However, prosecutors say the funds were improperly diverted from the NPF and ended up lining the pockets of various actors.

Meanwhile the respondent this week has filed a notice of his intention to oppose the application filed by Seretse on October 22, 2020. The DPP wants the Judge to dismiss supplementary affidavits of Dikgakgamatso Seretse, Galebotswe, Kgosi and Bakang Seretse.

Editor's Comment
Not yet uhuru

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