Sunday, January 29, 2023

Judge berates Attorney General

Lobatse High Court Justice Reuben Lekorwe has wrapped Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe over the knuckles for allegedly accusing the Court of usurping his powers.

The judge mentioned this when handing down judgement in a case the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from sealing off its offices.

In his judgement, Justice Lekorwe said: “I find myself impelled to address en passant, the charge against the court by (Abraham, Attorney General) Keetshabe) in his confirmatory affidavit that the court has ‘regrettably usurped’ his powers.”

He added : “I expected a bit more deference from a senior government attorney in the position of Keetshabe. Nothing short of utmost decorum is demanded from him but I take no offence. What I regrettable as well, is of the respondent to say that the court has endorsed the undermining of section 3 of the SPA.”

The judge also said, “The order granting the applicant (Katlholo) authority, in the terms, is a provisional one, having been made without hearing argument from the respondent (Keetshabe) and it cannot be said the court had made any endorsement at this stage.”

Lekorwe also said his judgment highlighted a sharp controversy of a turf between the organs of State (DCEC and DIS) which should be otherwise cooperating.

“The tension between the two has, by the look of things been simmering for some time and has now matured into a complicated dispute that has since broken into the public domain. It involves the Directorate on Corruption and its Director General on the on the one hand and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS)and its Director-General on the other-the later having been established under the Office of the President and represented by the Attorney General,” the judge said.


He said there is, “therefore, in my view, to the effect that the ethical rules of conflict of interest in litigation must be excluded or disagreed.”

He added that, “Such rules not be there constitute a necessary exception contemplated under section of the under section three.”

The judge further said, “So when two government agencies are at loggerheads and the need to approach court agencies are their differences, the Attorney General is produced from representing both court, mother for the court.”

The judge found that in the performances of its function, the DIS shall not be influenced, “by considerations not relevant to such function and not act shall be performed that could rise to reasonable suspicion.”

The judge also noted that, “When two government agencies are at loggerheads and the need to approach court arises to resolve their reference, the Attorney General is precluded from representing both and the aggrieved party is invested with the necessary legal standing to approach the court.”

“The probation against the Attorney General is precluded from representing both and the arrived party is invested with the necessary legal standing to approach the court. The prohibition is against any view,” Lekorwe stated in his judgement.

He said his judgment also highlighted a sharp controversy of a turf between the organs of State which should be otherwise cooperating.

“The tension between the two has, by the look of things been simmering for some time and has now matured into a complicated dispute that has since broken into the public domain,” the judge said.

The High Court has issued an order that the Deputy Sheriff accompanied by the Registrar or any of her deputies shall attend at the offices of the and take custody of the documents/dockets which were demanded by DIS for the preservation of evidence and in the two offices currently sealed (belonging to DCEC) as crime scene by DIS and be held in the custody of the High Court within 24 hours.

Delivering his judgement, Justice Reuben Lekorwe noted that suspended DCEC Director General Tymon Katlholo comes across as a man who is not at peace even within the DCEC itself.

He stated that on or about May 2021, Katlholo learnt through a telephone call from the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) that Pricilla Israel (Israel) had been appointed as Deputy Director General of DCEC and will report for duty on the 1st June, 2021.

Court papers show that within a few weeks while employed as the deputy general of the DCEC, Israel complained through a letter dated 10th August, 2021 to the minister of Presidential Affairs Kabo Morwaeng about the conduct of Katlholo.

Amongst other compliant, was that Katlholo was failing to progress matters under investigations by the DCEC which included Seleka Springs, Mosu Air Springs, Mosu Air Strip, alleged corruption against Unity Dow, the National Petroleum  Fund (NPF), Avian Fuel issue, Member of Parliaments for Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Mr Mephitis Reatile, Sebna Brothers, SPEDU, Butterfly case and many others.

 The High Court also interdicted the DIS from interfering with witnesses and evidence in the said records and identify of the whistleblowers and related matters which are integral part of law in the prosecution of any trial. The DIS was also interdicted from assessing investigation files held by DCEC which fall outside its mandate especially dockets relating to corruption and money laundering investigation.

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