Thursday, September 24, 2020

Former director against DCEC having prosecutorial powers

By Reuben Pitse

The former director of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has rubbished calls that the corruption busting agency should be empowered to prosecute its own cases.

Speaking to this publication, he said he does not support the idea that the DCEC should be allowed to prosecute its own cases as that will be “catastrophic.”

He said whoever wants to propose such kind of idea should probably think twice or perhaps conduct a thorough research whether DCEC can afford to be given that particular mandate.

“How on earth can one be a player and a referee at the same time?” he asked rhetorically.

Katholo explained that the agency has been given the mandate by an Act of Parliament to investigate corruption and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has also been given its own mandate to prosecute.

Katholo said if such a proposal could be embraced that would simply mean the public does not have confidence on DPP and its given mandate to prosecute.

“It is important that we should have checks and balances to avoid a catastrophic decision,” he said.

Katholo said DCEC should be left alone and continue with its own mandate of investigating cases adding that it is doing ‘a great job’ in fighting corruption.

He advised the DCEC Director Bruno Paledi not to allow his office to be intimidated by anyone even when the going gets tough.    

Katholo cited only one country in the Southern African region which has such an arrangement. He said the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has its own prosecutors who prosecute cases that it has investigated.

He further stated that there are other countries beyond the southern African region which subscribe to that system.

“I am not in a better position to suggest whether such system works or not,” he said.

Meanwhile DPP has been accused by various stakeholders of taking too long to prosecute cases involving high profile individuals.   

Both the director of DPP Stephen Tiroyakgosi and the chairman of Law Society of Botswana LSB Diba Diba were unable to respond to this publication queries at the time of going to press. 

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