Bayford & Associates, lawyers representing Brigadier Peter Magosi in a case in which he is being investigated by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) following the alleged disappearance of intelligence surveillance equipment is threatening to apply for a High Court order compelling the BDF Board of Inquiry to allow him to interview witnesses and inspect exhibits prior to the board hearing. This follows a decision by the Board of Inquiry to bar Bayford and Associated from interviewing witnesses prior to the inquiry hearing and failure to disclose exhibits. In a letter dated April 11th, addressed to the BDF Commander, Dick Bayford of Bayford & Associates states, “We would like to interview the five (5) witnesses listed in the Convening Order prior to the hearing of the matter.
This exercise could be done in the presence of a person appointed by the Commander. Kindly therefore provide facilities and make arrangements for the purposes aforesaid.” BDF Commander, Lieutenant General Galebotswe however barred Bayford from interviewing the witnesses saying, “The witnesses who are directed to appear before the Board will do so upon the convening of the Board and it is only at that time that you may interview them. As you interview witnesses in preparation for your client’s defence, you are advised to refrain from interviewing those witnesses appearing on the convening order.” Lt Gen Galebotswe said the board could not provide exhibits as requested by Bayford.
“Kindly note that a Board of Inquiry is an investigation body, the purpose of which is to establish facts about a matter under investigation. The board will only get to have items/exhibits upon same being produced before as evidence. As at now, the Board does not have and exhibits with itself that it can avail to you. However, should such exhibits become available; you will be allowed to view them during the proceedings of the Board.” In his response, Bayford states: ‘Although the Board is investigative, it is important to note that the Convening Order gives it wide powers of expressing opinion on any matter relating to the missing equipment. Such opinion might well be adverse and prejudicial to our client. We therefore request that you consider your decision, particularly respecting availing the required documents to us prior to the hearing.
The board is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday 29th instant. For this reason kindly treat the matter as urgent. We would therefore appreciate your response by the close of business today (24th instant). We kindly place you on notice that if we do not get a positive response from you then, we hold instructions to approach the High Court on urgency for an appropriate relief.”