Finance Minister Ken Matambo appeared at Village Regional Magistrate courts on Tuesday morning for the first time since he was slapped with a single count of corruption. He arrived in court in his S350 Mercedes Benz, and was immediately whisked into the court room, which was filled to capacity by journalists, well wishers, family and members of the public.
A sombre faced Matambo immediately took to the dock as proceedings started. He looked straight at the magistrate, sombre faced and elegant as ever in his pin striped suit. He spoke loudly and confidently as his charges were read to him. It was not a lengthy process, and soon the magistrate granted Matambo P10 000 bail and ordered him to come to court on July 13th. He did not submit any plea.
While those who had thronged the courtroom filed out, Matambo remained behind with his lawyers, Lawrence Khupe and Parks Tafa of Collins Newman and Company. Photographers who had lined up outside the courtroom to get a clear picture of Matambo were disappointed when he left the dock and returned straight to his seat in court. When the court adjourned, he remained behind with his lawyers. They spent a good thirty minutes going through a thick blue file and conversing in hushed tones, seemingly oblivious to the flashing cameras as photographers snapped away.
They even greeted and laughed with some of the newsmongers that they knew. The press huddled closer.
Matambo mumbled something about a statement from his Project Manager. Khupe agreed and continued guiding him through the thick file.
“This is just an inconvenience that you have to go through. There is clearly no case here,” said Khupe.
Matambo concurred. They laughed and slapped each other on the shoulders. Court proceedings had long ended, but the ever meticulous Matambo was still rummaging through the thick blue file.
Meanwhile the paparazzi were hovering outside court. The only picture that they now wanted was that of the Finance Minister walking out of court and hugging and kissing family and well wishers. He finally obliged and walked out of court in a brisk stride. Once again cameras flashed as friends and family lined up to hug, kiss and reassure Matambo. All along, he smiled gracefully and walked with confidence. He met with his wife and hugged and kissed her. They were joined by their daughter and other family members, and they walked hand in hand to their luxurious cars. They smiled at the cameras and even took on a leisurely pace, as if to give the cameramen a chance to take their pictures.
More well wishers came out to hug and chat with Matambo. He maintained his confident demeanour. He smiled broadly and even cracked a joke or two. He then went into his Mercedes Benz and drove away with his wife. Probably back to his plush office, where he is still responsible for the national finances. Despite the corruption charges, Matambo is still Minister of Finance. He has so far resisted calls for him to resign in the face of corruption charges relating to his dealings with a company called Tuwana Construction while he was still Managing Director of Botswana’s flagship investment company, Botswana Development Corporation. So far there has not been any information forthcoming from the prosecution and the defence. Matambo will appear in court on July 13th.