Thursday, March 4, 2021

Bakang Seretse has the last laugh

The state has suffered a fatal blow on its attempt to convict fund manager and prime suspect Bakang Seretse in the alleged controversial P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case.

Lat week Magistrate Kamogelo Mmesi discharged suspect Seretse and his chief co-accused from all corruption charges leveled against them.

She said the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) compiled a defective charge sheet which is ambiguous and embarrassing.

Magistrate Mmesi said the particulars are also vague and embarrassing in such that they mention that accused number 1 Kenneth Kerekang and accused number 18 Isaac Kgosi were influenced and in the same particulars Kgosi is mentioned in the alternative with Kerekang.

“It is as such not clear from the particulars as to who influenced who,” she said.

She said the particulars also do not disclose what is meant by it being bogus. Lastly, it does state that the alleged acts pertained to the matters in which accused 2 Bakang Seretse acted in his capacity as a civil servant. Count 10 is also vague and ambiguous in relation to the valuable consideration of accused 1 Kenneth Kerekang and accused 17 Mpho Kerekang. The particulars also do not state how accused 17 Mpho Kerekang influenced the conduct of accused 1 Kenneth Kerekang to authorize the transfer of the amount alleged.

 “I would like to state that from the 28th October 2020 to date, the High Court made some rulings touching on the case before me, and as such the court cannot just disregard those rulings. I would like to state that even though that review application did not relate to the current case but to a case already committed to the High Court for trial, the charges in that case were similar in nature to the charges in the present case before me,” said Mmesi.

She said the court has found that the current charges are an amendment of the charge sheet that magistrate Mathaka had refused to allow and as such bad for duplicity.

“I also find that should this court commit accused to the High Court, that alone will amount to abuse of court processes  and with the decision of the High court also in place “to set aside charges against some of the accused” it is appropriate therefore for this court to, quash all the charges preferred against all accused” she said.

The state had confiscated close to 27 properties including houses and some expensive cars amongst them Meserati Gihiblis B 877 BDH, Land cruiser 5.5 V8 Turbo Diesel B548 BEE Mercedes Benz Reg No. 291 BEX belonging to Seretse and cash amounting to P82 million which is currently at centre of legal dispute before Lobatse High Court Judge Ketlogetswe.

With all this before Court, it means the state has suffered millions of pula in its legal attempt to prosecute and convict Seretse and his co-accused.

According to court records, since 2017, when the case started, the state has engaged 8 lawyers including the legal brain of a South African advocate Shaun Abrahams as an effort to at least reach trial and ultimately conviction of some of the accused persons.

According to court records, some of the high profile names which kept cropping up on the judgment which was delivered by three panels of High Court judges is that of state President Mokgweetsi Masisi, former spy boss Isaac Kgosi (accused number 18) cabinet minister Sadique Kebonang (accused number 6), High Court Judge Zein Kebonang (accused number 8) and Director in the Department of Energy Kenneth Kerekang (accused number 1).

The state was represented by Wasson Manchwe and Pascal Mhandu and others while the defence team for all accused were Kgosi Ngakgaagae, Unoda Mack, Thabiso Tafila and Busang Manewe.

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