Lobatse High Court judge, Justice Maruping Dibotelo, is on July 29 scheduled to make another ruling in the marathon criminal trial of former Debswana Managing Director, Louis Nchindo, and three others.
The application he will be making a ruling on will be in relation to particulars of the charges that the applicants are facing, which the defence, led by advocate Peter Hodes, says the applicants have not been given to enable them to prepare their defence.
This follows after the current southern Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, had earlier on, when making a ruling on the same matter, ruled that most of the charges were clear enough and explained the charges against the applicants to the required standards.
Hodes, when making submissions on this matter, said that particulars of the offences have not been given to the applicants and that this failure by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions amounted to a grave violation of their constitutional right to a fair trial and that it would make it impossible for the applicants to prepare their defence against the charges .
Hodes also submitted that Chief State counsel, Matlhogonolo Phuthego, who brought the application, did not have authority to file the affidavit from the Director of Directorate of Public Prosecution, Leatile Dambe, and that he had not even stated whether he had such permission.
An affidavit, he added, cannot be made on behalf of another person. Further, his clients could not plead before they had been given particulars of their offences.
Hodes also submitted that the DPP has long denied them access to former President Festus Mogae’s cabinet as well as to Nicky Oppenheimer even during their presence.
On their decision to approach the Court on this matter, Hodes said that it was their constitutional right to approach the Court.
Opposing the application, Kgosi Ngakayagae, of the DPP, submitted that Phuthego, being a subordinate employee of the DPP, had authority to depose the affidavit, adding that, since the application emanates from a pending matter before a Magistrate, Phuthego was entitled to deal with it to its logical conclusion.
On the applicants’ appearance before the Court on this matter, he submitted that they did not have powers of attorney to appear before Dibotelo nor were they admitted to do so.
That for this reason , whatever they say should be thrown out as they were not properly before the Court and that their application should be ruled as null and void and be sent back to bring proper application.
On further particulars of the charges demanded by the defence, Ngakayagae submitted that the defence had been given information that they demanded in the form of documents and witnesses’ statements.
He also submitted that the matter of how each individual was involved was matter of evidence and that applicants were just trying to bring evidence before it was led in Court.
The applicants, he submitted, have been given 76 files and 100 statements adding that giving more will lead to injustice. Recently, Dibotelo ruled in favour of the applicants in the matter they wanted the criminal case in Magistrate Court to be stayed till all the applications related to the case currently in the High Court have been resolved.
The other applicants in this matter are Garvas Nchindo, Joseph Matome and Jacob Sesinyi.