The National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case seems to be taking a nasty turn with allegations of the millions missing being trimmed down from the initial P250m.
The money laundering scandal involving the Kebonang twin brothers, former minister Sadique and High Court Judge, Zein, Bakang Seretse and Kenneth Kerekang is reportedly becoming a headache for the State as the money keeps going down while defence is breathing heavily on their neck demanding answers.
Some of the particulars of the case emerged in court on Monday, as the defence team of Kgosietsile Ngakaagae and Unoda Mack are demanding answers to what they deem could open up their defence. The team reckons they need particulars of the case, especially that there are issues involving millions, which keep being reduced without any reason.
In one of the many arguments, Ngakaagae said the particulars they were demanding from the State could serve as a breakthrough for the many questions they have. He explained that it was unfair for the State to refuse with particulars of the case when they keep cutting down the money without any tangible reasons and queried why the money keeps being amended. “For example, in one of the counts the initial charge against my client was P3,300,000 now the P300,000 has been squashed without any explanation. Where did that money go? We need answers,” he said.
Ngakaagae explained that they need paper trail to address what happened to the money so that they know what their next move will be based on. Mack was also not having it with the prosecution on the fact that the State was denying them those particulars on reasons unknown to them. He said with all the money that keeps being reduced, it was only fair for them to know reasons for such.
“We made requests about the particulars of the case and we were forced to make an application before court because of the State’s refusal. Now they want to claim there were no such requests,” he said.
On the other hand, the State seems to be cagey about the particulars the defence is demanding from them. During court proceedings prosecution counsel, Wesson Manchwe said they were not refusing with the particulars, but were merely waiting for the committal of the case to the High Court and that they could issue the particulars anytime if the court says so. However, after being cornered by the magistrate, he said it was not possible to give them the particulars.
He even explained that the defence did not make any application compelling court to give an order for them to do so of which the defence disputed as they had made the application. The State seems to also be tightening its noose on the case as they indicated in court that a new prosecutor will be roped in.
Manchwe indicated that the prosecutor had already taken a look at the charge sheet and that was the main reason why the case will be delayed to be taken to the High Court.
He said the prosecutor had advised them that the charge sheet would need to be amended with more charges added and possibly more people also.
“The prosecutor has advised that the charge sheet be amended. New charges may or may not include all accused and also more people might be added to the charge sheet,” he said.
However, the revelation by the State came as a thorn in the defence team’s flesh, who feel that it was not being fair for the State to employ those delaying tactics.
Ngakaagae said they could not be forced to wait for the prosecutor and wait for the charge sheet amendment while their clients suffer.
He explained that bringing new people will mean taking the case right back to where it all began as also their rights will have to be protected. “The new suspects will also have to be accorded their rights and that includes being given time to seek legal representation, that might take time while our clients who are out of work without pay are suffering and that cannot be fair,” he said. Mack said the honourable thing the prosecution can do is to drop the charges with a chance of reinstatement and put their house in order. For that reason, the defence team believes the charges against their clients were prematurely conceived.