The case in which the former Botswana Housing Corporation Deputy General Manager, Gaolekwe Rabana, is fighting extradition from South Africa was recently postponed to July 23, 2007 in Johannesburg?s Randburg Court.
Rabana, who has been on the run for close to 10 years, is wanted to stand trial in Botswana on allegations of corruption.
According to sources in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the postponement was requested by Rabana?s advocates who told the Court that they were busy with other cases.
Rabana fled whilst he was facing charges of having received bribes in the form of air tickets and hotel fees to Europe and United States of America. The bribes, allegedly from Wade Adams Construction Company, were for Rabana and his family.
The state alleges that this was done in order for Rabana to show consideration to the construction company in the awarding of tenders for the construction of Block 5 houses.
During the court proceedings, heard before former Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Leonard Sechele, one state witness told the Court that tendering for Block 5 was not done procedurally and that laid down tendering rules were not followed.
For instance, he said, high ranking officers of the Corporation, who were always involved in the Corporation?s tendering processes, were sidelined during this particular tender.
The Court was also told that sub standard materials were used in the construction of the houses.
When Rabana absconded, the last state witness was on his way from the Caribbean Islands to come and give evidence. The witness had to be ordered back because Rabana had absconded. The current Director of Public Prosecutions, Leatile Dambe, was prosecuting the matter whilst Abel Modimo appeared for the defence.
In another extradition case, the government is seeking the extradition to Botswana from South Africa of two men, Benson Keganne, a Botswana citizen, and Kagiso Sibi, a South African, who are facing murder charges in Botswana. The two are alleged to have murdered Gloria Mahowe of Pitsane in the Southern District in March 2001.
They were then arrested in Botswana according to authorities here. But the South African government denied that they were arrested in Botswana saying they were arrested in South Africa and brought to Botswana illegally .This led to a five-year stand-off between the two countries. The stand-off ended late last year when they were returned to South Africa which had demanded that they be taken back and for proper extradition procedures to be followed. There is, however, fear that the South African government, which abolished the death sentence in 1990, will not allow for their extradition.
?I do not think the accused persons will ever be brought back to Botswana. This was the last time they were here,? said a source close to the case. South Africa, apparently, has a rule that it should be assured that people it extradites to other countries will not be executed if found guilty of crimes they are alleged to have committed in the countries they were extradited to. Botswana is amongst the few countries that still carry out death the penalty.