Thursday, April 2, 2020

No trial date set in fraud case three years on

The case in which police inspector David William and his wife Seonyana are facing P2 million fraud charges is still to be scheduled for trial three years after the hearing was postponed.

Seonyana and William are alleged to have defrauded the government of Botswana of P2 million and their initial trial was postponed because the then presiding magistrate, Banyatsi Mmekwa, left the public service for private practice.

Mmekwa, who has been persuaded to return and continue with the case, this week confirmed that the court had not yet given him new dates for the trial.

”I do not know when the case will continue because I have not been given new dates for it”, he said .After the case was first postponed in 2003, the case was again postponed on several occasions because Mmekwa failed to turn up to hear the case as he had promised to do when he left the public service.

This prompted former Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Takura Charumbira, to write to the High Court asking for directions in the matter.

The Registrar and Master of the Lobatse High Court, Godfrey Nthomiwa, then appointed his deputy and former Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Nelson Bopa, to sort out the issue.

After months of negotiations with Mmekwa, Mmekwa apparently agreed that he would return to the bench to complete the matter but that has since not happened.

The prosecutor currently charged with handling the case, Bafi Nlanda, this week confirmed that there has been no progress in the case. According to him, two weeks ago he was in court and the matter again failed to continue because Mmekwa was not present. Nlanda said that they are ready to continue but that their efforts are being frustrated by the non appearance of the former magistrate.

Bopa was not available to comment on the matter.
During the trial, the court heard from William’s two nephews, who are also police officers, that their uncle had on several occasions ordered them to go and withdraw some money amounting to thousands of pula from their accounts. William allegedly deposited the money into those accounts.

After withdrawing the money, they said, they were ordered to give the money to either William or his wife. They told the court that, at times, they were ordered to leave some money in their accounts for their own use.

Asked by the prosecutor Leatile Dambe where they thought the money they were withdrawing was from, they said they thought it was from the business his uncle’s wife owned.

Besides his nephews’ statements, there was also evidence from some police officers who told the Court that they had, on several occasions, found large amounts of money deposited in their accounts which was later on withdrawn.
They claimed they did not know where the money was from or who later withdrew it.

Abel Modimo is appearing for the defence.

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