Tuesday, December 7, 2021

State and Bakang Seretse still at it

The state has difficulty to gather evidence from Israel relating to a civil forfeiture against Bakang Seretse – who is charged with money laundering linked to the P230 million National Petroleum Funds.

According to court documents, Seretse has requested for an extension of a restraining order relating to close to P84 million from M&B properties, Khulaco (Pty) Ltd and Leomog Investments.

The court documents show that Seretse’s company bank accounts (M&B, Khulaco (Pty) Ltd amongst others since 2018 were restrained because they were linked to proceeds of crime derived from the P230 million NPF.

In his request state prosecutor Enerst Mosate said the matter has been a difficult one because it involves international relations from Israel to assist on how various transactions were executed.

In his submissions Mosate told the court that Seretse laundered the money when he was fund manager at NPF and bought several properties and if the court releases the properties then it will be a heavy blow to the state. He requests for an extension of restraining order because the matter is of public interest.

“This is a matter of public interest where millions from Petroleum Funds were wrongly diverted into Seretse business companies as fund managers of the NPF. They say we should withdraw and litigate later and we are we want an extension because the primary objective of the restraining order is to secure the properties and that’s why we ask for extension.

He said: “It’s an application against property and at the current situation in relation to the ongoing investigations which involves foreign countries like Israel, “no offense need to be proved”.

Mosate said the properties in question are from proceeds of serious crime related activity. He says the law and procedure was breached and the court should exercise its discretion and grant the civil forfeiture restraining order against Seretse’s property.

But Seretse’s lawyer Kgosi Ngakaagae said the doctrine of finality wants ending and with the submissions before court from the state, the court has never been told about the hiccups of the mutual legal assistance and with that the court should dismiss the state application. 

 “It’s 4 years with the state still holding on Seretse’s property and failing to bring evidence which justifies that the properties are proceeds of crime related activity. The government has received value for money that is why they are treating this case in the manner they are handling it, and that’s the greatest absurdity from the state,” said Ngakaagae.

Ngakaagae said some of the P230 million was used by the DIS to buy weapons and drones and if Seretse’s property are to be classified as proceeds of crime then the P118 million which was used to buy the DIS equipment from Israel should also be classified as proceeds of crime.

“It’s the gov’t through DIS holding proceeds of crime and not my client. Former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi and former BDF Commander, Major General Galebotswe in their affidavits have demonstrated how the money was used contrary to what the state is saying. Nothing has been said about crime and how the properties are related or has been proceeds of crime,” said Ngakaagae.

He said the DPP has failed miserably to demonstrate that the properties are of serious crime related activity.

He said before the state can say the properties are proceeds of crime related activity, they must first tell the court which crime was committed.

Ngakaagae said the state is just on a hunting spree and not interested in bringing the matter into finality and requested the court to dismiss their application.

“Seretse was not there when the variation between acting PS Dr Obakeng and Minister of Minerals for the amount of P230 million which was initially budgeted for building of fuel strategic reserves occured.  

Ngakaagae has pleaded with the court to dismiss the case arguing that it is not competent.

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