Thursday, December 8, 2022

Matambo not fit for office ÔÇô court records

The chairperson of the committee Abram Kesupile has told the High Court in court papers filed this week that their finding demonstrated that Finance and Development Minister, Kenneth Matambo was not fit to hold public office. Kesupile stated that Matambo who is also former Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) Managing director was totally unhelpful when quizzed by a select committee of lawmakers that probed BDC’s Fengyue glass project- “During his testimony before the committee the applicant was extremely vague regarding the events of this period, for example…he could not recall any commercial discussion between the Government and any prospective investor, most notably a Botswana company “Thru Glass” during that period.

“It now appears that the applicant had more facts at his disposal at the time which he chose not to share with the committee,” says Kesupile. Matambo has approached the High Court to nullify the BDC report and its findings on account that he was not given an opportunity to cross-examine witness and that the hearings were held in camera. Matambo gave evidence before the committee on two occasions in May 2012. Matambo’s biggest worry is that the report came at a time when the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is investigating the palapye glass project. The minister believes the committee’s findings and recommendations pre empted and undermined DCEC’s investigations.

The minister wants the court to declare the report a nullity because he was not given an opportunity to cross examine witness who implicated him and his office in the now redundant palapye glass project. He also says that he was denied a right to be represented by his lawyer Parks Tafa. However, Kesupile maintains that the report cannot be scrapped simply because Matambo objects to the procedure. “I deny that the applicant had the right to be legally represented during the hearing of the evidence of other witnesses and to test or challenge the evidence of any other witnesses. He certainly did not assert such right before the committee,” states Kesupile.

“I take notice of the applicant’s view that the allegations of impropriety regarding the glass project must be fully investigated….if anything or recommendation of the committee may have been wrong, the correct facts will be established if the recommendations of the committee are followed, and if the applicant indeed has done nothing wrong, he will be vindicated by the investigations which are recommended by the committee Kesupile says that his committee’s finding did finger Matambo but merely demonstrated that he is not fit to hold public office. According to Kesupile by rushing to court and claiming he was not given an opportunity to clarify issues, Matambo is being disingenuous because he had ample time to tell the committee his side of the story.

Meanwhile Speaker of the National Assembly Margaret Nasha has also filed a sworn a court statement in which she strongly opposes Matambo’s application. Nasha says that not only was the application filed late but also threatens parliamentary independence. Nasha’s bigger gripe is that the committee that investigated BDC Fengyue glass project worked enjoys parliamentary immunity and cannot be sued.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper