Saturday, January 16, 2021

Kalafatis family lawyers stand their ground, accuse gov’t of ‘criminal act’

Allegations that the late John Kalafatis’ brutal execution by members of the security forces a couple of weeks ago was premeditated have now been confirmed by lawyers acting for the Kalafatis family.

In what was viewed by many as an unusual turn of events, attorneys, Messrs Dick Bayford and Duma Boko, held a news conference where they announced that the deceased knew well in advance of the intentions of the Botswana Security Services to execute him as they (Security Services) had made it abundantly clear to him.
 
The lawyers cited a letter written by the deceased, dated 4 March, 2009 which he handed to his attorney, Busang Manewe, of Bogopa Manewe Attorneys, communicating his awareness of the plans to terminate his life.
 
The lawyers further stated that, as far as things stand, no evidence has been produced to suggest that Kalafatis may have been involved in any criminal offence or case pending before the courts.
 
It was stated that even if, by any chance, there was any such case, the law clearly stipulates procedures to be followed in arresting persons involved in criminal acts.
 
Against this background, and basing on evidence they had managed to gather, including after consultation with the Botswana Police Services, Bayford and Boko indicated that Kalafati was never on the “Wanted-List”, nor was a warrant of arrest ever issued against him.

“In spite of that, on Wednesday 15th May, 2009 at or about 10:00 p.m., at Extension 12, Gaborone, John was gunned down, execution style, by a group of security operatives, believed to be members of the Botswana Defence Force Special Forces or Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS),” said Boko.
 
To substantiate the case of criminality, Forensic pathological findings suggest that the deceased was shot at close range, using the type of ammunition that ensured that only the target “suffers the bullet” thus, only entry wounds appeared at the back of his body and behind his head.
 
In addition, holes to the rear and sides of the two-door vehicle Kalafatis and two others were driving in showed that the shootings were concentrated at the back where the deceased was enjoying coke and brandy.
 
“As you can see, John was not armed or in any such position as to either fight back or flee, since he would have to ask either of his colleagues sitting at the front seat to allow him to exit as the car had only two front doors,” posited Boko.
 
One incident that, according to Boko, served to illustrate the mystery behind the whole affair, is the apparent absence, “whether conveniently or actually”, of police officers from the “Kalafatis operation” to the extent that a very senior Police Officer, who at the time was very unwell, had to personally come to the scene of the murder.
 
Early this year, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security told Parliament that since April 2008, there have been twelve shooting incidents involving the Botswana Security Services, out of which eight people lost their lives.
 
Strikingly though, no criminal proceedings or judicial inquests have been set in motion to establish the facts of the incidents.
 
Bayford expressed concern that the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, had, at the Press Conference held on the 26th May 2009, announced that the operatives who are responsible for the said dastardly act continue with their employment and have not been charged.
 
“The enquiry initiated, according to him, is “an inquest investigation,” lamented Bayford.
 
In the opinion of the two reputable lawyers, it is very imperative that the public be availed true and correct information by those in charge, adding that they doubt Government’s commitment to such ideals.
 
On why the lawyers are pursuing a parallel investigation, Bayford pointed out that it is intended that in the final analysis, the “Killers of Kalafatis account for what they have done,” but “the laser” investigation also aims to establish if the murder may have been sanctioned from the highest echelons of power.

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