Saturday, May 18, 2024

Nchindo, Matome defence presses for acquittal

Judge designate Lot Moroka has suspended ruling in a case advocate Graig Webster wants him to rule that his clients, Garvas Nchindo and Joe Matome, have no case to answer.
Matome and young Nchindo are facing 9 counts of corruption.

Arguing for the defence case, Webster submitted that the state has failed to prove any of the charges against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt.

The late Nchindo, he submitted, had gone through all the legal process of registering a company called Tourism Development Consortium and applied for the land, which he acquired for his company legally as required by the law.

Webster also denied the charge that there had at any time been misrepresentation to the former President Festus Mogae on the reasons for acquiring the plot in Block 10, which is at the center of the argument, adding that the plot was legally acquired for the purpose of building a hotel on behalf of Tourism Development Consortium and not Debswana. Debswana, Webster said, was at no time involved in the acquisition of the plot and that it was only the late Nchindo who went through all the pains of making sure that the company is registered and land obtained on its behalf. The whole process, he said, was transparent and the plot was allocated to Nchindo after it was found that the idea was sound and acceptable by government officials.

Webster said an official, named in court as a Mathuba, in particular was the witness who said that she had found nothing wrong with the application by the late Nchindo.
Webster also said that he had found evidence by former Minister of Lands and Housing, Jacob Nkate, who approved the allocation of land to Nchindo, to be credible and him an honest witness whose evidence could be relied on.

On presentation to Mogae, which the prosecution says was a misrepresentation of facts concerning the allocation of land to Nchindo; Webster said that Mogae had nothing to do with allocation of land to Nchindo.

This, he says, proves that his clients were not in any way implicated in any wrong doing and that they are entitled to a discharge and acquittal.

Responding to the submission by Webster, assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Matlhogonolo Phuthego submitted that the presentation made to Mogae in 2002 was a misrepresentation of facts, which made Mogae believe that the project for which land was being sought for was aimed at helping the diversification of Botswana economy.

Phuthego said Mogae had told the Court that he believed that Debswana should help in diversifying the economy of the country just as De Beers had done in South Africa. The project, he further submitted, was put under special dispensation because it was hoped it would help in diversification of the economy and was a national project.

This, he said, called for a prima facie case against Matome who he said was masterminding the deceit.

Mogae, he said, had given evidence in Court and that his evidence had been that he had authorized the allocation of land to Nchindo’s company because he believed the land would be used for national interest and that he would not have done so had he known it was for an individual in the name of Nchindo.

Phuthego said that Mogae, who was a personal friend to Nchindo, had told the Court that he had met on several occasions with Nchindo and that he had at no time told him that the project was a personal and not national project.

Besides that, he said that the chairman of Debswana Board had told the Court that they are required to declare their asserts every year and that Nchindo had never at any of their meetings declared his personal interests on TDC as he was required to do.
”Why did he hide this from the Board?”, asked Phuthego.
The case continues.


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