Saturday, May 15, 2021

Court allows State to appeal against Bakang Seretse

Lobatse High Court Judge Gaolapele Ketlogetswe has ruled in favour of the state to appeal in a case in which businessman Bakang Seretse intends to recover P82.8 million suspected to be from proceeds of crime linked to the P250 million National Petroleum (NPF) saga. Initially, on the 4th November 2020, the Court had ruled in favour of Bakang Seretse and the state appealed the decision of the court for the matter to be decided by the Court of Appeal.

Seretse and his companies being Khulaco (Pty) Ltd M& B Properties and Leomog Investments approached court for contempt of court after the state failed to reimburse the money back.Seretse and other suspects were recently discharged by the High Court in the P250 million NPF money laundering case.

According to court records, the application was aimed at having the respondents, The Attorney General (AG) Abraham Keetshabe, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Stephen Tiroyakgosi, and the Receiver Bafi Nlanda be held for contempt of court and sent to prison until they comply with a court order which was issued on the 4th November 2020.

When making a ruling, Ketlogetswe noted in his ruling of the 4th November 2020 that the matter is urgent. He made an order stating that the respondent (state) continue retention of the applicant’s (Seretse) properties on the basis of the restraint order of 13th December 2017.

He then ordered for the state to return Seretse’s properties within 24 hours but the state noted appeal before the Court of Appeal within the same 24 hours. In his ruling Judge Ketlogetswe said there is no dispute between the parties that the respondent (state) has noted an appeal against the judgment which ordered Seretse to be reimbursed P82.8 million within 24 hours.

“The conclusion I have come to in the two applications serving before this court are that the respondents have succeeded in establishing that they cannot be adjudged to be in willful contempt of court and the application for contempt is liable to be dismissed,” Gaongalelwe said.

The judge also stated that it is an appropriate case where an order staying the execution of the court order of 4th November 2020 pending the finalization of the respondent appeal to the Court of Appeal has been finalized. Justice Ketlogetswe ordered that the application for contempt of court against Attorney General, Abraham Keetshabe, DPP Director, Stephen Tiroyakgosi and the Receiver, Bafi Nlanda be set aside.

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