A series of SMS text messages between Louis Nchindo and his lawyer, senior partner at Collins, Newman and Company, Parks Tafa, suggests that their relationship stumbled on a difficult patch following a story that appeared in the Sunday Standard revealing how De Beers funded the ruling Botswana Democratic Party and former president Ketumile Masire. (N.B Tafa is not the lawyer referred to in the plot to bring down Nchindo).
In an exchange of SMS text messages, Tafa told Nchindo that, “Mr Nchindo ÔÇô I am sure you got my message from last nite. I am waiting for the second appeal on Thursday to be finalized and then Collins, Newman & Co will review our position as your legal representatives.”
By ‘my message from last nite’, Tafa was probably referring to a text message he sent to Nchindo’s children stating: “Hi Sito & Nicky- after y/days article in the Sunday Standard- we are contemplating withdrawing as Mr Nchindo’s lawyers. My firm cannot deal with a client who does not listen to lawyers’ advice.”
Nchindo responded to Tafa’s message thus: “Having spent a year fighting to ensure that your partnership defends me at great cost it seems strange that you cannot even wait to hear what I have to say.”
To which Tafa responded by saying, “I know- but the events of 2008 to do with the recusal application is water under the bridge. All I will remember is us sticking our necks for you.”
Nchindo in turn shot back saying, “P6 million is water under the bridge? Besides, what has the article in a newspaper got to do with the case? I would kindly ask you to wait until I return next week.”
In an interview with Sunday Standard this week, Tafa explained that he and his partners were worried when they read media leaks about the BDP, former President Ketumile Masire and De Beers.
They felt the leaks could jeorpadise Nchindo’s case which is scheduled for April 6th.
It was on that score that he contacted Nchindo to express his “apprehensions.”
During their communication, Nchindo told Tafa that he was not the source of the leaks and that in any case, the newspaper articles had nothing to do with the court case.
“It is an exaggeration to say there were differences between Nchindo and myself. The truth is that I was apprehensive with the leaks. We were concerned when we saw the articles.
Personally I do not have information about the BDP, De Beers and Masire funding. But Louis had information about certain things that happened in the past. I cannot reveal what he told me because that is privileged information. And so when he said it was not him who leaked information to Sunday Standard I took it at face value. But still we expressed our apprehensions as his legal representatives that he would end up caught in allegations that had nothing to do with the case,” said Tafa.
Answering a question as to what the De Beers, BDP and Masire funding stories had to do with the Nchindo case, Tafa said “everything.”
“There is a public perception that Louis [Nchindo] was involved in some wrong things. He was going to tell the court that he is being persecuted. The problem is if you make a statement it can later be used against you in court,” said Tafa.
Tafa also said he was not aware that Louis Nchindo had been meeting attorney Dick Bayford and briefing him about the same case.
“That he was meeting Bayford is news to us. He never told us that he was unhappy.”
“Whether indeed he met Bayford or not I can’t say. I cannot verify and it’s none of my business. But were Nchindo alive and said he wanted to move his files from us that would be his prerogative,” said Tafa.
Tafa said with the major figure in the case dead he cannot rule out the possibility of the DPP (Directorate of Public Prosecutions) dropping the case.
“I can’t rule it out. But it is their call. It is the prerogative of the Director. But if they drop the case together with the family [Nchindos] we will look at the consequences.
But can the Nchindo family sue the state for damages were DPP to drop charges?
“We are not there yet,” said Tafa. The important thing he said was to prepare for the case as scheduled.
“The important thing is that these charges are rubbish charges. I have always believed so from the beginning.”
Tafa said Nchindo did not confide in him that he had any fears.
At a memorial service, Garvas, one of Nchindo’s children said his late father had fears which he later found to be unfounded.
“I am not aware of those. What I know is that he was upset and disturbed by many things.”
Tafa said in particular Nchindo was annoyed by stories published in a South African tabloid alleging that he had had affairs with teenage girls some of whom he had fathered children with.
SUNDAY STANDARD EDITOR WISHES TO PUT ON RECORD THAT THE LATE LOUIS NCHINDO WAS NOT THE SOURCE OF OUR DE BEERS/MASIRE/BDP STORIES.