In an application heard yesterday by the Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court to have the charges against them quashed, the accused in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case have blamed the State for failing to comply with a court judgement which ordered the prosecution to provide them with documentation and further particulars.
Asked by the trial magistrate, Masilo Mathaka why the State had not complied with the court order, the State argued that it did not recognise the jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s Court and that the application to have the charges quashed should have been filed at the High Court.
This was notwithstanding that it was the State that filed the charges before the Magistrate’s Court and had the accused arraigned before the same court.
This is also notwithstanding the fact that the Magistrate’s Court had already given a judgement ordering the State to comply.
Asked what remedy the accused had where there was abused of prosecutorial discretion and persecution, Advocate Shaw Abrahams, for the prosecution, submitted that the law under these circumstances never intended for the accused persons to have any remedy and that despite his diligent search, he had not come across any case law that afforded the accused a remedy.
On the contradicting answers provided by the State, Attorney Masethe, also for the State argued that such contradictions would be reconciled at trial and that the accused needed to live with such contradictions as they represented the State’s case.
Attorneys, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae and Unoda Mack for the defence argued that the case against their clients was mala fide prosecution and actuated by malice. They argued that the case against their clients was an attempt to play to the public gallery and to secure a trial and conviction on a false narrative by the State.
Ngakaagae accused the State of seeking to pervert the cause of justice by prosecuting the accused on a life that had been fed to the public. He argued that there could be no justice where the accused were being asked to go for trial on facts that were unknown to the State itself and on a defective charge that disclosed no offence and where the State had deliberately conceived information from the accused.
He also argued that the Magistrate had the jurisdiction of competence to preside over the application to have the charges quashed as that was provided for by the law.
He accused the State of being so ill-prepared but so determined to abuse the court process to the detriment of the accused persons. He accused the State of seeking to treat the Magistrate’s Court as an inconsequential extension of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the High Court. He argued that the application to quash the charges was properly before court. Ruling has been reserved to July 18, 2019.
Some of the accused persons are Bakang Seretse, Kenneth Kerekang, Sadique Kebonang, Zein Kebonang, Mogomotsi Seretse and Kago Setimela.