Gaborone Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, will, at a later stage, decide if former Minister of Lands, Jacob Nkate’s testimony in the Nchindo case should be accepted or trashed.
Nkate on Friday stunned the prosecution when he contradicted a statement he made to then Director of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime, Tymon Katholo, in 2008, to the effect that he allocated Nchindo’s company land because he understood it to be a Debswana subsidiary, and that Debswana was an investor in the project.
“It was at all times my understanding that the consortium was a Debswana subsidiary, and that the investment was to be made by them. The application was to my mind clearly an application by the consortium which I understood was a subsidiary of the Debswana group,” said Nkate in his statement.
But last week he changed his statement, saying that Debswana had nothing to do with the project, and there was never a doubt in his mind that he was allocating land to TDC and not Debswana.
He admitted to giving a false statement under oath, but explained that he made that statement based on what he believed to be true at the time. However, he said, his view changed when he got to understand the sequence of events after perusing the court documents.
Nkate explained that his confusion was occasioned by the fact that he was asked about two similar projects, one sponsored by TDC under Nchindo and the other sponsored by Debswana, of which Nchindo was managing director.
“After becoming aware of the sequence of events, I must say that I am totally convinced that the allocation was made to Nchindo and not to Debswana,” he said.
However, the state failed to make an application for Nkate to be impeached and declared a hostile witness. Magistrate Lot Moroka later said that Nkate’s testimony will stand in court, but added that he will consider its merits with the rest of other witnesses’ testimonies at a later stage.
“In such instances, there can be an application to impeach the witness. The interest of the court is to have as many witnesses as we can. Therefore the witness stands and is not declared as hostile,” said Moroka.
However, the prosecution might later apply for Nkate to be declared hostile. Again Moroka will proceeded with the case and later scrutinized Nkate’s testimony and decided if he should consider it or trash it. Another scenario that can cause Nkate’s impeachment is if the prosecution applies for the case to be dismissed as they have no case to answer.