Monday, April 19, 2021

Former BHC Deputy Manager still at large

Ten years after he absconded from Botswana when his corruption trial was nearing an end, the former Botswana Housing Corporation Deputy Manager, Gaolekwe Rabana, is still to set foot in Botswana though South Africa’s Randburg Court ruled that he could be extradited to Botswana as Botswana had requested.

Soon after the judgment allowing his extradition was delivered early last year, Rabana immediately appealed against the judgment. Sources have disclosed that it might take up to a year before the appeal is heard as South African Courts have a backlog of cases.

“I do not see him coming here soon, if at all,” said a source. “Even if he loses his appeal at the High Court, he is likely to appeal to the Court of Appeal after that.”

Rabana is currently believed to be running a company in South Africa.

He fled Botswana years ago whilst he was facing corruption charges in connection with the awarding of tenders for construction of BHC houses in Block 5.

Charges against him are that he had accepted bribes in order for the tender to construct houses in Block 5 to be awarded to a construction company that did not qualify for the award.

The State alleges that, in return for that, Rabana was given air tickets for him and family to fly to Europe and America as well as money for accommodation in luxury hotels.

During trial, state witnesses said that Rabana had favoured the company, which was finally awarded the tender, without following proper tender procedures and that, at times, high ranking officials who were supposed to be involved in the process were intentionally excluded by, amongst others, Rabana.

He fled the country when the state was left with only two witnesses to give evidence.

One of them was a former BHC engineer who was, at the time, based in Australia and had traveled half way across the world to Gaborone for the trial when he was suddenly told to go back as Rabana had skipped the country.

After he fled the country, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime set out to find him and finally traced him to Johannesburg where he is reported to be residing with his family.

After he was located, he refused to return to Botswana to face trial and this led to his extradition trial.

The then Gaborone Chief Magistrate and now Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Leonard Sechele, presided over the matter whilst current Lobatse High Court Judge, Leatile Dambe, prosecuted.

If Rabana is finally extradited, he will be one of several suspects to be extradited from South Africa in recent times.

The others include Benson Keganne, currently on death row for murder and some South Africans who were wanted here in connection with the Sir Seretse Khama Airport armed robbery.

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