Sunday, October 17, 2021

Italy rejects Botswana’s extradition request

A diplomatic row has erupted between Botswana and Italy over the extradition of an Italian fugitive John Wilson who is wanted in Botswana for offences that he allegedly committed in the country.

Information gathered by this publican suggests that a diplomatic dispute has erupted between the two countries following the Italian government’s decision to reject a request by Botswana to have Wilson extradited to face criminal charges.

Initially the two countries are said to have agreed in principle that Wilson should be extradited to Botswana. But Italy is said to have somersaulted after it had made an undertaking that it would facilitate the extradition of its citizen.

Botswana had submitted the legal requirements needed by the Italian government detailing what is required before a suspect could be extradited and Italy agreed that requirements had been met.

It is understood that a date was set in which the fugitive was to be extradited to Botswana.

Then officials from Botswana comprising the police and state prosecutors left the country to Italy to be handed over the suspect. However, upon their arrival, Italian authorities refused to hand over the suspect accusing Botswana of failing to comply with the Italian laws.

It is also understood that  hours after before the arrival of Botswana officials the suspect was released from custody.

The director of CID detective Busang Lesola said it was regrettable that the team that went to Italy recently to receive the alleged suspect to Botswana was unsuccessful as Italy reneged on its undertakings.

“For a number of reasons that I cannot divulge it did not happen,” he said.

He said although he is not at liberty to disclose to the media what might have happened in Italy, he is optimistic that eventually they would be given the green light by the Italian authority to extradite the fugitive after some further consultations between the two countries. 

“At this juncture I do not have time frame when the suspect will be extradited but as soon as we have complied with what the Italian authorities have requested then that is when we will be able to say when he will be extradited,” he said.

Lesola also confirmed that the Italian authorities have so far released the alleged suspect from custody.

“It is very important to respect the laws of individual countries much as we want countries to also respect our own laws.”

Wilson is accused of defrauding Belabela quarries of about P2 million before skipping the country during the investigations.

The Ministry of International Affairs and Corporation promised to respond to Sunday Standard queries but had not done so at the time of going to press.

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