The shenanigans of what takes place behind closed doors before I am taken to court to answer for any charges brought by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have been brutally laid bare by the recent audio leaks of a meeting held by the DPP, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS). To be fair to the participants of the meeting, there are, based on what I heard from the audio leaks, voices of reasons which appeared to be intent on following the law and the irrational hardliners who appeared to be intent on taking matters they were discussing to court by hook or crook.
In the end, the voices of reason have been shut down by the irrational hardliners because irreparable damage has been committed by the numerous elementary blunders in matters before court by the DPP. The sum total of the shenanigans is that the three State institutions have been seriously decimated to a paralysis state in so far as their credibility in the public eye is concerned. This conversation is premised on two propositions: that the ensuing failures in high profile cases are caused by sheer incompetence or, whether there is a political dimension to them.
In this day and era where news (credible and fake) flies in and out like an ‘uninvited mosquito’, the danger of allowing recording gadgets like mobile phones should be known. This meeting was a highly sensitive and highly confidential one in all imaginable respects where its deliberations should have been protected from the word go. While it is regrettable that the deliberations of that meeting are now public knowledge even outside the borders of Botswana, I believe the DIS should particularly have taken it upon itself to fully ensure that the meeting contents are solidly protected. But this turn of events shows beyond any reasonable doubt I argue, that these institutions are divided right down the middle. I am therefore, neither surprised not shocked at the turn of events.
The recent bundling of the Butterfly, National Petroleum Fund and the P 100 billion cases have become the true reflection of the sorry state of the DPP in particular and the DCEC/DIS in general. These institutions I want to believe, are spoilt for choice with respect to legal minds whose duty is to be able to know the legal boundaries of each other in cases where they all have to work together on a particular matter. Put differently, their respective legislations unambiguously define each other’s mandate in order to avoid clashes or roles. Consequently, none of them should be determining what the other’s roles are as it appears to be the case in the audio.
My limited knowledge tells me that the DPP is the ultimate authority which determines which case, based on available evidence before it, is ready to be taken to court. Such evidence would have been gathered by the investigating officers through laid down processes and procedures. Cases are ready for court, I want to believe, if and when sufficient and credible evidence has been gathered to set them in motion. It has emerged from the leaked audio conversation that the voice of reason is saying that the State does not have a winnable case against the Butterfly in the P 100 billion looting because the alleged paper trail of that loot has not been commenced from the Bank of Botswana who if such loot took place, would be the complainant.
The DPP from what one gathers, has not been able to establish through the South African banks whether the P 48 million the Butterfly is alleged to have stashed therein, did actually take place. To the contrary, Butterfly’s lawyer went ahead of the DPP to verify the authenticity of whether her accounts exist in those banks. The outcome is that no such accounts exist. DPP has not been able to dispute this outcome which resulted in the Butterfly been granted bail because she was initially denied bail based on the fabricated allegation amongst others, that she had stashed the P 48 million in South African banks. This is incompetence of the highest order!
There is the issue of diplomatic passport(s) issued to the Butterfly by the former Director of Immigration Rre Mabuse Pule. Rre Pule is on record to have said that he was called to a meeting by the DPP, DCEC and DIS where he informed the meeting about issue surrounding the said passport(s). Further to this, Rre Pule says he was given a questionnaire in connection with the passport(s) which he duly completed. The irrational hardliners are pushing for Rre Pule to provide a statement on the passport(s) yet he has done so as indicated. This is incompetence of the highest order! Are they expecting Rre Pule to provide a different version if approached once more? It defies all logical reasoning.
The DPP seems to be pitifully unable to call the DIS to order where the latter seemingly, is running roughshod over the former and the DCEC in these and other cases. As a consequence, the ability of cases to be thoroughly investigated is bound to be compromised in one way or the other resulting in such cases seriously unable to stand in court as it has emerged and continues to do so. There are allegations that the DIS may have performed some investigations behind the DPP’s back or without the required input of the former. It is on record that the investigations on the Butterfly with respect to the alleged P 100 billion loot was poorly done by an investigator from the DCEC when the DCEC had not authorised such investigator to do so. The investigator it has turned out, has now been thrown under the bus as if he personally and out of his own volition, undertook the investigations. Because the chickens are coming home to roost, the irrational hardliners are running skelter helter to find fall guys or possibly fall women.
With the three institutions presumably capacitated with a wealth of legal reservoir to make them credible in the eyes of the public, why do they find themselves in this situation where such credibility is all but ripped to shreds? It may very well be that some or all in these institutions have personal vendetta against some or all the accused in the high profile cases. Even if this was the case and given the fact that some vendetta pushers are well versed in legal matters, one would expect them to be smart in pushing such vendetta such that they do not appear to be pushing it. This brings me to my proposition as to whether there was, or there is political dimension to these high profile cases.
Uncomfortable as it may sound, political influence runs across the broader society including the State institutions referred to herein. The mere fact that two of these institutions (DCEC and DIS) are located in the office of the President is reason enough to render them susceptible to political overreach in one form or the other. The DPP is in the same political position somewhat as its Director General like the other two, is appointed solely by the President though removal is different as it requires a tribunal to investigate such removal. The current administration ran with the argument that it was intent on dealing with corruption towards the 2019 general election. The high profile cases of NPF, the Butterfly and the P 100 billion were viewed by some as those that fitted the fighting corruption bill. As a campaign tool, it is fair to conclude that these cases influenced the outcome of that election.
It is a well-known fact that in the run up to that election, relations between the current President and immediate past President were, and are still broken down probably irretrievably. The fact that the immediate past President is seriously implicated in the P 100 billion loot without credible evidence or him being brought to court could explain the incompetence of the DPP on one hand and/or political interference on the other. I will readily admit that it is not easy or possible to explain political interference because it is constructed and conceptualised under extreme situations of secrecy and confidentiality. However, when one joins the circumstantial dots of these cases, the outcome could very well be both the incompetence of the institutions or political dimension.
Owing to the above, the credibility of the DPP, DCEC and DIS has been brutally ripped to shreds with ordinary poor souls like me having lost confidence in them. As a consequence, my fears have been truly confirmed by the leak of the audio conversations that serious charges against people have been stage-managed for motives only known to the DPP and its other ‘partners in crime’ because these cases are largely refusing to stick due to lack of credible evidence. As long as the powers that be remain indifferent with regards to restoring the credibility of these institutions for the public good, the more likely that credibility will be insurmountable to restore. I argue very strongly that the powers that be owe the nation a duty to restore the credibility of these institutions. The back and forth attitude they have adopted does not help the situation. I am prepared to be persuaded otherwise as always. Judge for Yourself!
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