Sunday, July 14, 2024

DPP and DIS caught in a web of its own lies and falsehoods

I am banking on lady luck for someone from somewhere to tell me why the heads of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) are still at their desks following what could be described as the ‘school-boy’ bungling of high profile criminal cases. These cases are with respect to the so-called disappearance of P 100 billion from the Bank of Botswana and the P 250 million National Petroleum Fund. In order to make these cases look appealing and compelling to the general public, high profile individuals were named as the perpetrators. It has since emerged that part of the evidence if not all, is discredited to the point where some charges have been  dropped pending further investigations.     

Lies and falsehoods appear to be the modus operandi of court processes in this country if the following history is anything to go by. The Sunday Standard Online edition dated 10th February 2008 ran with a headline ‘High Court registrar, cop, prosecutor accused of lying under oath.’ This was in relation to the case where the then attorney Motshegetsi Masoba was suing government for P 3 million for the collapse of his law firm due to police officers’ incompetence. In his explosive ‘affidavit’ according to the newspaper, he accused the then Registrar of the High Court and current High Court Judge Godfrey Nthomiwa and the then State Counsel and current Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Stephen Tiroyakgosi ‘of lying under oath and fabricating evidence’ with respect to his case. I could not establish how this matter ended in court.   

The Sunday Standard online edition dated 17th December 2019 ran with the headline ‘Court accuses PSP, Attorney General of lying under oath’ wherein the Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe and the disgraced immediate past Permanent Secretary to the President Rre Carter Morupisi connived in 2015 to have Rre Micus Chimbombi who was the Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Agriculture to vacate his office through mutual separation which the duo would later try to manipulate somewhat such that Chimbombi does not receive the true financial compensation due to him. He had agreed to exit the public service provided he was fully compensated for the remainder of his five year contract to which he had only served one year or so.

Chimbombi went to court before Justice Ranier Busang who said in part of his judgement in favour of Chimbombi that ‘Both Keetshabe and Morupisi showed great determination; enthusiasm and desire to have Chimbombi exit the civil service at the earliest opportunity. Morupisi wanted the letter from Chimbombi urgently, whilst Keetshabe delivered the message in real time. This is demonstrated by the hyper speed at which Keetshabe moved to Chimbombi’s office as if the skies were falling, interrupting government business….’ As a result of this despicable conduct by these high powered public servants, government ended up paying Chimbombi close to P2 million which was the remainder of his employment contract. Though Morupisi ultimately exited the civil service before the end of his employment contract and is currently in court on unrelated matters to the above, the Attorney General remains firmly at his desk as if nothing happened. That’s Botswana for you!

The P 100 billion and the P 250 million NPF cases gained the full steam of court processes in the period leading to the 2019 general election. It is not unreasonable to suggest that while the fighting corruption narrative of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was not explicitly in direct reference to these cases, they in my view carried the direct or indirect message to that effect. In short, the electorate was convinced to vote for it because it was demonstrating to all and sundry that it was committed to fighting corruption. It is not difficult to conclude that given that there is no solid barrier between the President and the oversight institutions to which he is the sole appointing authority, it becomes ever possible for the political interference narrative to be proffered. In comes what Barack Obama described as the importance of creating strong institutions as opposed to creating strong men. Our oversight institutions perfectly fit Obama’s description where in the process, they commit very costly school-boy and I dare say man-made mistakes and blunders as demonstrated by the lies and falsehoods in the ongoing P 100 billion and Butterfly cases.

Consequent to these, a few outcomes emerge. Firstly, the State could possibly be staring at heavy, yet unnecessary legal suits.  Nothing suggests at least for now, that punitive action in any form or shape will be taken against the main creators of the lies and falsehood. It is not far-fetched to conclude that such punitive action is possibly not in the offing because all that is taking place is possibly with the concurrence of the political leadership. If it wasn’t, such action could have long been taken considering the embarrassment it has caused the political leadership. A Permanent Secretary of Health and Wellness and his Deputy were all dismissed at the same time at the height of Covid-19 pandemic. A Director General of DCEC was dismissed at the height of corruption and money laundering cases. These high powered officers it could be reasonably argued as I hereby do, were dismissed because they were acting against the wishes of the political leadership.

Secondly, a scapegoat in the form of throwing Jako Hubona under the bus as if he is the sole creator of the mess is a slap in the face of fixing the problem if that is the intention. It is highly unlikely that Hubona’s affidavits could have entered court without the express validation and endorsement of the DPP in the main. It should suggest therefore that his affidavits were stitched together to present a particular outcome which has, and is still collapsing in front of everybody.  Hubona and the heads of both DIS and DPP have a case to answer as to why seemingly, fabricated evidence was presented in court to deny Butterfly bail in her first two attempts. Bear in mind that huge public funds were used by Hubona and others to trot the globe in search of information that could incriminate her. And these lies and falsehoods were made, if I may add, in the form of affidavits under oath. Unbelievable indeed!

Now that the DPP and DIS are deeply caught in a web of its own lies and falsehoods, what then going forward? Firstly and as it has become the norm, it is no longer desirable that the heads of DPP and DIS remain at their desks. Their conduct have put their organisations into serious disrepute with respect to dispensing justice without fear, favour or prejudice. The fact that State institutions can ‘meticulously’ manufacture evidence with the sole intention and purpose of punishing people should be concerning and frightening to persons who live within the jurisdiction of Botswana.  

Secondly, they must face the full might of disciplinary proceedings. In the case of the DPP and because he is protected by security of tenure, a tribunal must be set up to investigate why under his watch, he let manufactured evidence enter the courts of law. For the head of DIS, the President must just fire him like he did with his predecessor. The legal framework of DIS must be reviewed and reformed in order to ensure that political grip, influence and manipulation as it appears to be the case on its head is minimised to the bare minimum. But like I stated above and on the presumption that the sorry state of these collapsing cases were with the concurrence of the political leadership, nothing fundamental  or otherwise will happen. May be at the very least as it is the option (which I reject), cosmetic redeployment of some sort could be considered and implemented.

When all is said and done, DPP and DIS leadership have rendered these institutions next to ‘kangaroo’ status where the mighty and the powerful rule supreme outside the tenets of the Rule of Law and justice. If Butterfly was unable to stand against this manufactured evidence, she would be in jail until her case is concluded. I am indebted to the Justices of the High Court who so far, have presided over the cases referred to herein by stepping up to the plate to ensure that justice and fairness are upheld. I am prepared to be persuaded otherwise as always. Judge for Yourself!

Kindly remember to comply with Covid-19 health protocols.

[email protected]


Read this week's paper