Magistrate rules Matome has case to answer
by Mpho Keleboge
The outgoing Gaborone Regional Magistrate, Barnabas Nyamadzabo, has postponed to next Friday the trial in which the former Director of Department of Public Service Management, Pearl Matome, is facing two counts of corruption.
This came after the defense lawyer, Unoda Mack, advised the court that he intends to take unsworn testimony as they are not going to call any witnesses.
This development came at the last hearing when the Magistrate ruled that Matome has a case to answer and the defense was forced to strengthen its defense before the trial could star.
The defense then decided to make an application on some clauses which the court disregarded while making the ruling on a case to answer.
Matome is charged with allegedly participating in the employment of her close relative, Goitsemodimo Sewane, in 2006 and failing to disclose the nature of her interest to the DPSM and, a year later, further accelerated her promotion.
Before the trial continues, Mack made applications that the statement from Matome, recorded by the investigating officer, should not be used during the trial because it was not properly taken. He said the statement should be removed from the record because the officer had failed to warn and caution the accused before taking the statement.
The Chief prosecutor, Kentse Molome, said the defense did not alert them of the information given by the accused and that the obtaining of the statement by the investigating officer was illegal.
“They are just making the application now,” Molome said. “The defense has just ambushed us with this application and I did not have the benefit of time to inspect the records. I was also not present during the ruling when Matome was informed that she has a case to answer.’’
She also rubbished the cases the defense lawyer cited, arguing that they were not relevant to the case and urged the magistrate to dismiss them.
Mack said that the state had failed to prove that the statement was made freely and voluntarily.
The court was adjourned for 30 minutes to allow the magistrate to make a short ruling and Nyamadzabo then ruled that the statement should be removed and not used during trial.