A Francistown-based lawyer, Mboni Manyothwane, on Monday launched a P250 000 lawsuit for damages against the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
The lawsuit, filed before Francistown High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo, is based on what Manyothwane deems as wrongful arrest and false imprisonment allegedly instituted against him by the DCEC in 2009.
Reciting his ordeal to court, Manyothwane said that it all started when one of his clients, who is implicated in the infamous Francistown illegal land dealing case of 2009, approached him to seek for legal services.
“My client approached me and told me that she feared for her life and that she heard that she had heard that she was under investigation by DCEC over land scams,” Manyothwane said. “She stated that the security agents could be after her.”
He went on to reveal that he then decided to write a letter to the DCEC on November 6, 2009 seeking assurance that if her client was arrested she would not be subjected to any harm.
Manyothwane said that after a few days while he attended a business meeting, he received a call from his law firm that three DCEC officers were looking for him at his office.
He stated that he then rushed back to his office where he was asked by the officers to accompany them to their offices to discuss the letter he had written about his client.
Once there, Manyothwane said that the officers demanded him to reveal the names of the sources who gave information that his client was under investigation.
“I refused to give the details of the people who gave information that my client was under investigation because I felt the names were confidential; the officers then interrogated me and said I would be arrested for interfering with witnesses in their case.”
He went on to state that the three officers then told him that he would be kept in custody for trying to interfere with their witnesses.
After that, he was whisked to the Police Station where he was detained in a cell.
Manyothwane went on to divulge that he had earlier on phoned his lawyer, a certain Ngwenya, who then went to seek the involvement of a judicial officer to assist him with bail.
“After some hours of the nightmare in the prison cell, I was later ferried to the Francistown Magistrate’s court where I found my lawyer, the judicial officer and the prosecutor and bail was later granted,” he told court.
He went on to state that although he was granted bail, the prosecution and the officers from DCEC failed to give reasons for his detention, adding that they were only informed that he interfered with the witnesses in their case.
However Manyothwane brought to the court’s attention that he has to press charges against the DCEC as they made him suffer emotionally and unnecessarily. He went on to establish that the conduct by the officers was not professional.
“I had to go through the misery of custody, wondering if I will ever see the light again,” he told court.
Manyothwane is represented by Morris Ndawana of Ndawana and Associates and DCEC is represented by David Moloise.
The case continues.