The Deputy Master and Registrar of Lobatse High Court, Takura Charumbira, has dismissed an application asking him to recuse himself from the Daisy Loo corruption case.
The application was made by lawyers acting for Daisy Loo Managing Director, Moemedi Dijeng, and some Gaborone City Council employees saying he had had a meeting with Chief Justice Julian Nganunu during which the Daisy Loo case was one of the subjects of discussion.
Dismissing the application, Charumbira said that the meetings referred to by the defence lawyers did not have a bearing on the case.
“I am of the considered opinion that grounds advanced for recusal that I am a competent and compellable witness in the case is far fetched,” he said, adding that the meeting “did not delve into charges\allegations preferred against the accused persons, the facts of the case and evidence already led”.
Charumbira also said what transpired at the meeting bears all the hallmarks of what one may coin for want of a better term “case management drive” in an administrative and not judicial capacity aimed at addressing the consequences following from the then presiding officer removing himself from the case.
The Acting Master and Registrar of the High Court also said that it was surprising that this issue is now being raised when it was never raised in the past.
He also stated that the obvious qualification is that defence lawyer, Joao Salbany, was then not in attendance because of ill health but that he had colleagues and that, at the outset, a partner from his Law practice appeared with a brief from him and that at no stage was the issue of recusal mooted let alone alluded to.
Besides Dijeng, the other accused persons in this case besides are:
Gilbert Sithole, Frank Molaletsi, Joseph Stegling, and Bitsang Abbey.
They are alleged to have conspired to defraud the GCC of an unspecified amount of money by fraudulently issuing unauthorized variations of a contract to Daisy Loo.
The contract allegedly falsely presented that the Segoditshane River was part of area D.
Daisy Loo had claimed P21 million for the job. Prosecution, led by Susan Mangori, is expected to call 50 witnesses. Amongst the witnesses is expected to be President Ian Khama who allegedly gave instructions that the city be cleaned whilst he was the Vice President. Trial dates will be set on 17 March.