Saturday, January 16, 2021

Prosecution in Nchindo case wants president, cabinet ministers’ statements

The Principal prosecutor in the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Kgosi Ngakayagae, admitted in Court that they had not yet obtained statements concerning corruption and fraud charges labeled against the former Managing Director of Debswana, Louis Nchindo, his son, Garvis, Jacob Sesinyi and Joe Matome from the following people: former President Festus Mogae, current President Ian Khama, Vice President Momphati Merafhe and some cabinet ministers, amongst them Ministers Daniel Kwelagobe and Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

Ngakayagae said this during submissions in an application brought by the accused persons seeking to be given above mentioned witnesses’ statements.
He submitted that they had asked the Director of the Directorate of Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime, Tymon Katlholo, and the investigator in the case, Moseki, to help obtain statements from the concerned people.

Ngakayagae also submitted that their view on the matter is that the above mentioned people remain their witnesses in the case though they had not obtained statements from them .

“The above mentioned people are still our witnesses, though they have not given us statements, you can not take them away from us,” he said.

He said this when commenting on submissions made by the defence advocate Peter Hodes earlier on.
Hodes had submitted that the said witnesses could not continue to be regarded as state witnesses as they had not given the state their statements.

He also submitted that they were optimistic that the statements would be obtained from the concerned people.
On the statements alleged to have been made by Nick Oppenheimer, Ngakayagae said that the statement had gone missing and that they were still looking for the statement. He also submitted that, if all efforts to find the statements failed, they would approach Oppenheimer and ask him to write another statement.

Concerning the minutes of the Debswana Board meetings, Ngakayagae said that they had passed all the minutes they had been able to obtain to the defence, adding that they were against blanket demands for statements and minutes and that it would be helpful if the defence would make specific demands of statements by stating that they knew that there was ‘such a such a meeting’ whose minutes they need.
In this regard, he also said that Nchindo, being a former Managing Director of Debswana would be helpful on the audit forensic report conducted by Keegan.

Ngakayagae submitted that they had also given the defence all the documents they had. What the defence should perhaps say, he submitted, is that they had not fully studied the documents passed to them and not that they had not been given the documents. Ngakayagae also expressed surprise that the accused persons were outspoken about the issue of not having been given witnesses’ statements when they too had not given them their witnesses’ statements as they are also witnesses in this case.

Earlier on, Hodes had submitted that his clients were still waiting to be given witnesses’ statements, which they said was his clients’ constitutional right. He also submitted that the accused persons need the witnesses statements for the simple reason of preparing their defence against the charges labeled against them.

Ngakayagae, however, conceded that this was provided for but that it stated that this should be done under control of the DPP. Hodes also submitted that the state’s act of denying them witnesses statements is done with the intention of ambushing the accused persons.

Gaborone Chief Magistrate Lot Moroka is expected to make a ruling on the issue on February 26.

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