State organs disgraced in ‘Butterfly’ scandal

Welheminah Maswabi at Court PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Welheminah Maswabi at Court PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

The highly publicized and controversial case of ‘Butterfly’ has brought public humiliation and scrutiny to state organs as the case that involved allegations of money laundering with billions from Bank of Botswana was thrown out of court on Monday when the accused was acquitted and discharged.

The case regarded by many as involving alleged treasonous attempts across borders and some powerful individuals within the country has left many wondering what would happen next.

Though the State has indicated an intent to appeal to the case, it does not take away the truth that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Directorate of Public Prosecution (DIS) have suffered such a major humiliation and reputational damage.

According to the recent judgment issued by Gaborone High Court, Justice Zein Kebonang in which he acquitted and discharged the teary Maswabi,, President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s attention has been drawn into the matter as he has been asked to take appropriate action against those involved.


The judge after ripping apart the state organs for the ‘careless’ involvement in the matter without doing proper procedures went ahead to and made recommendations relevant to each involved.

For instance, Stephen Tiroyakgosi, DPP lead prosecutor Priscilla Israel and DCEC lead investigator Jako Hubona have all been singled out to receive appropriate action regarding their involvement in the case.

“The actions of the director, Israel and Hubona constitute criminal misconduct and abuse of office. They did not accidentally or negligently withhold information and material exculpatory of the applicant but did so intentionally in order to maliciously and wrongfully prosecute her,” he said.

He issued orders appropriate to each state organ as per their involvement in the case that has been singled out as having made the country a ridicule in the eyes of the public.

DCEC

The organ’s lead investigator at the time when the case was brought publicly Jako Hubona has been accused of fabricating evidence not only against Maswabi but also Former President, Ian Khama and South African Businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe.

Following the judgment he has now been referred to the Commissioner of Police for prosecution for perjury and to the DCEC director general as his line supervisor for disciplinary action

According to the judgment, the judge said the review revealed that the evidence submitted by DCEC was fabricated as proven.

Priscilla Israel, who was the led prosecutor at the time, has been referred to the Permanent Secretary to the President for disciplinary action. She has been referred to Director General of DCEC as her immediate supervisor for disciplinary hearing. Furthermore she has also been referred to the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) for investigation and appropriate sanction.

DPP

The Director of DPP Tiroyakgosi has been referred to the President as the appointing authority to consider his removal from office of the DPP as per the constitution.

He was also referred to the LSB for investigation and appropriate action while also referred to the Attorney General for investigation ad possible prosecution.

DIS

Though the organ was part of the operations leading to the case against one of its own, not much has been said about the appropriate action to be taken against it. No one in the DIS was singled out for any action though they have formed part of the humiliation to the state.

The judge at the time of acquitting the accused said the decision by all involved to charge and maintain a prosecution against the applicant was irrational especially that the evidence was clearly fabricated.

Subsequently the judge directed that all the respondents pay the cost of the application on an attorney scale, jointly severally with one paying the other to be absolved.

Meanwhile, Maswabi’s review application had been pending before the High Court and the state had failed to respond to it. It later filed an application for withdrawal of charges before the Magistrate’s Court. They had wanted to withdraw with the liberty of bring the charges later of which the defence team of Maswabi blatantly refused. At the time of acquittal on Monday the withdrawal application was pending before court as it was scheduled for hearing on September 14.

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