Judgment in the case in which two lawyers, Tiro Mothusi and Herbert Sikhakhane, are facing charges of defrauding the government of Botswana of over P2 million will be handed down on February 22, 2008.This comes after a marathon trial which has taken close to two years.
In his final submission in the case, Tengo Rubadiri, the lawyer representing Mothusi, the first accused, submitted that the two lawyers were victims of a scheme planned to destroy them. He said that the case is simply based on suspicions and circumstantial evidence.
On the evidence of Akofang Moasetso, who was initially a defence witness but later turned around and gave evidence as state witness, Rubadiri asked that Moasetso’s evidence be dismissed because he was a hostile witness adding that his evidence be treated cautiously because he had changed his position to give evidence for the state after he was detained by DCEC officials.
Lawyer Unoda Mack, who represented Sikhakhane, asked the Magistrate to acquit and discharge their clients saying that the state’s case was based mainly on suspicions and that suspicions could not be elevated to the status of evidence.
On the evidence given in Court by the state’s main witness, Edward Baikepi, a former messenger at Sikhakhane law’s firm, Mack said that his evidence was contradictory and inconsistent.
For instance, he said, Baikepi claimed that when he left Sikhakhane’s employment he was owed P2, 700 whilst another employee at the same company says that he left without acrimony.
Another inconsistency in his evidence, Mack said, was the date he left employment at Sikhakhane. Mack said Baikepi had told the court that he had left on March 29, 2004 whilst a witness identified as Cynthia said that he had left on April 7, 2004.
Mack charged that Baikepi had connived with the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime officials to destroy Sikhakhane, adding that the evidence to that was that they had vowed that they would make it difficult for Sikhakhane to obtain Botswana citizenship.
He also submitted that the statement purported to have been written by Sikhakhane and which was brought before the Court had actually been coauthored by the DCEC investigating officials.
Answering the submissions made by the two lawyers, the Deputy Director of DCEC, Solomon Phadi, said that there was no evidence on record showing that Moasetso was detained at Mochudi as Rubadiri has claimed.
This information, she said, comes from the affidavits Rubadiri had filed in an attempt to reopen the case which was unsuccessful.
Further, she said that Moasesto had not, in his evidence, made any of the alleged claims of assault nor mentioned the four continuous days of imprisonment.