Saturday, January 16, 2021

Judgment in lawyers’ fraud case due next week

Former Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Nelson Bopa, is next week expected to pass judgment in a case in which Francistown attorney, Tiro Mothusi, and Gaborone attorney, Herbert Sikhakhane, are facing fraud charges.

The two lawyers have been on trial since 2005. The judgment will come after Mothusi’s application to the Lobatse High Court seeking the postponement of the judgment and requesting to be allowed to recall witnesses was dismissed by High Court judge, Maruping Dibotelo, last month.

In his judgment, Dobotelo said that he did not see the reason to issue such an order and that if Mothusi really thought that the case in the Magistrate Court was not in accordance with the set procedure, he could have asked Bopa to transfer the case to the High Court at an earlier stage and not after the closure of the case when judgment was just days away.

Dibotelo also said that Mothusi, a practicing lawyer, had taken long in approaching the Court which he said was against the set rules of the Court. During the trial, Bopa turned down an application made by Mothusi to have the case reopened in order to lead new evidence.
The new evidence he wanted relates to the evidence which was given by a prison warden, Akofang Moasetso, who has since resigned from his job and who gave contradictory evidence in Court during the case.

First, during evidence in chief, he gave evidence supporting the defence’s version of the events only to later change from that version during cross examination by the state prosecutor, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Phadi Solomon. Mothusi also wanted a former investigator in the matter, who has since been forced to resign from the Directorate after being investigated in connection with missing funds belonging to the DCEC, to be recalled to give evidence.

Mothusi was, during the trial, represented by Gaborone attorney Tengo Rubadiri, who has since been charged along with Mothusi.

Mothusi is accused of having allegedly corruptly offered to reward Moasetso an undisclosed amount of money as an inducement for Moasetso to unlawfully obtain for him a prisoner’s docket and that, as a result, he obtained docket Pf6 in respect of Philemon Malekate, a former prisoner at Kasane prison.

The second charge against Mothusi is that he had made false entries into Malekate’s prisoner docket with the intent to mislead the Magistrate and attempted, through his lawyer, to tender the docket in evidence as an exhibit.
Rubadiri, on the other hand, is charged with having unlawfully received a prisoner’s docket from Mothusi when he knew or had reason to believe that it was stolen.


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