Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Francistown attorney gets P130 000 for unlawful arrest

Francistown-based lawyer, Mboni Manyothwane, last week won his case against the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

The case, which was before Francistown High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo, had Manyothwane suing the DCEC for damages amounting to P265 000 for unlawful arrest, detention and loss of business hours.

According to his summons, on the 6th of November, 2009 he consulted with a client who had come to seek legal protection from the DCEC after she heard the organization was investigating her in connection with a multimillion Francistown land scam case.

The client was seeking protection that should she be arrested, the DCEC should not harm her as she had heard that the organization normally harmed suspects.

Manyothwane then wrote a letter informing the DCEC that should they need any information regarding his client they should interrogate her in his presence as her legal advisor.

Manyothwane was then called by the DCEC officers who interrogated him with regard to his client and was later told that by virtue of the letter he wrote about the client, he had interfered with their investigations.

“The officers wanted to know how my client had known that she was being investigated by the DCEC and I refused to tell them as it was confidential information between me and my client,” the court heard during trial.

He added that after refusing to name the sources, he was then told that he would be arrested and detained and was then dragged to the Francistown Police Station where he was remanded in a cell.
After some hours in the cell he was later released and taken to the magistrate court on the
instruction of his attorney who had communicated with him and had known about his arrest.

The lawyer demanded to know the charge against Manyothwane and the prosecution, together with the DCEC, failed to establish his charge and was only told that the detention was meant to curb him from interfering with the DCEC investigations.

Passing judgment, Chinhengo pointed out that the defendants failed to justify the arrest of Manyothwane, as there was no charge against him. However, the judge also rejected Manyothwane’s claim of P265 000, saying that there was not much fact to support the hefty claim.

“The defendants shall jointly and severally pay the plaintiff as damages for the wrongful arrest and detention the sum of P130 000,” the Judge maintained.

Chinhengo concluded that the defendants shall also pay the legal costs incurred in the case.
Manyothwane was represented by Morris Ndawana of Ndawana and Associates and the defendants were represented by David Moloise.


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