Monday, March 4, 2024

South African has long ‘acquitted’ Butterfly

Almost a month to Justice Zein Kebonang’s judgement last week acquitting Butterfly, a fellow judge in South Africa Dennis Davis had already made a similar ruling, except that his was in the form of a legal opinion.

Kebonang on Monday ruled that former intelligence officer at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Welheminah Butterfly Maswabi be acquitted of terrorism and money laundering related charges.

Across the border in South Africa, Judge Davis opines in a legal paper dated 30 July, 2021 that has not been made public before, that to persist with the case was to suggest that both the South African Reserve Bank and a range of South African banks were either party to a conspiracy, have misrepresented the true position or have all been grossly incompetent.

Addressing Botswana’s request for mutual legal assistance from South Africa through AfriForum, Judge Davis noted that it was based on so flimsy a legal edifice so as to justify the conclusion that the proceedings are based on a political as opposed to a legal agenda. 

In the said affidavit, Israel stated that, “During our enquiry we discovered that the applicant was involved in the transfer of funds to the Republic of Botswana for the benefit of the former President Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama through a Botswana registered company by the name of Avante Security Services (Pty) Ltd.”

In response, Judge Davis said Israel’s affidavit is truly a problematic document in that it is replete with pure unsubstantiated speculation.

“This has no place in a court of law in that it is an attempt to use hermeneutics to counter the obvious”.

Justice Kebonang on the other hand made recommendations to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to consider dropping the DPP Director Stephen Tiroyakgosi from office.

“The country has suffered irreparable harm from the Butterfly prosecution. The state has committed a criminal act as the allegations are fabricated and outright false”, said judge Kebonang.

Kebonang called the case against Butterfly a case that never was. He said it was a lie orchestrated from the onset by highly ranked public officers who are accountable only to themselves. Kebonang went on to call the case a brazen criminal act from those entrusted with public power that should never have been allowed to happen.

“It is declared that the allegations and/or accusations contained in the charge sheet dated 17th October 2019 and the amended one dated 13th November 2020 in criminal case number CMRRS-000006-19 against the Applicant were fabricated and are outright false; It is declared that the allegations and/or accusations contained in the opposing Affidavit of Jako Hubona (the Hubona Affidavit) deposed to on the 28th October 2019 under High Court case number UCHGB-000388 19 to the effect that the Applicant is a signatory to various bank accounts held in various South African Commercial Banks under companies called Blue Flies (Pty) Ltd and Fire Flies (Pty) Ltd with a total balance in excess of USD 10 Billion were fabricated and are outright false as such accounts do not exist and the said companies are also no-existent,” Justice Kebonang ruled.

He found that the decision of the DPP to charge and maintain a prosecution against the Applicant on possession of unexplained property contrary to Section 34 (1) (b) of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act (Cap: 08:05), financing terrorism contrary to Section 5 (1) (f) of the Counter Terrorism Act (Cap 08:05) and false declaration contrary to Section 315 of the Penal Code (Cap 08:01) is irrational. He consequently ruled that the decision reviewed and set aside.

The Applicant (Butterfly) is hereby discharged and acquitted on all counts.

Butterfly had through her lawyers sought the High Court to set aside and acquit her of all charges relating to money laundering, sponsoring terrorism, and possession of unexplained property.


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