Monday, July 15, 2024

State organs bickered and slipped over “Butterfly” case

A stand-off ensued between the Directorate on Corruption (DCEC), the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) over documents relating to a case against DIS agent Wilhelmina Maswabi.

For the first time information shows why the DPP was compelled to withdraw terrorism charges against Maswabi and call into question the alleged disappearance of P100 billion from the Bank of Botswana.

It emerges in the documents and meetings between representatives of the three agencies that the DCEC accused the prosecution and the DIS of putting the horse before the cart by prematurely laying charges against Maswabi before concluding investigations.

During one of the heated meetings convened to discuss charges levelled against Maswabi code-named “Butterfly” in intelligence circles, the DPP sought and demanded a docket relating to Maswabi’s case and other supporting documents from the DCEC. Replying, the DCEC said it did not have in its possession such documents or a docket.

The DCEC also insisted that the documentary evidence before it did not meet the threshold for prosecution. The DPP was not convinced insisting that it had sufficient evidence to build a solid case.

The DCEC team which had also informed its counterparts at DPP that it did not have a docket in possession accused the latter of tempting it into violating its own Act and warned that it would not accede to DPP’s demands. But the DPP insisted that there was a docket and sufficient evidence which cleared the bar for prosecution and secure conviction. Replying, the DCEC dared the DPP to go ahead with prosecution.

The DCEC also took issue with demands that it should probe false declaration of a passport which is one the charges leveled against Butterfly saying this did not fall within its mandate or purview.

As tensions between the three state agencies boiled over, it emerged that the DCEC had considered conducting an investigation into the controversial P100 billion Bank of Botswana cash heist.

But the investigation tapered-off after the DIS intervened and informed the DCEC that it should focus on the paper trail relating to local transactions and not those involving Bank of Botswana as they formed part of transactions that occurred outside the country.

Representatives from the corruption busting agency even mentioned they had received a letter from the central bank informing them that there was no money missing.

The Telegraph can reveal that after the heated meeting, the prosecution was convinced to drop charges of terrorism but still confident that it could pursue other charges against Maswabi. 

The DCEC even mentioned that even though it believed there was no sufficient evidence linking Maswabi to some offences it assured the DPP that investigations into other matters such as Maswabi living beyond her means and possession of unexplained property were ongoing.

According to a savingram from DPP Director Stephen Tiroyakgosi dated 18 January 2021, addressed to the DCEC Director General Tymon Katholo, it reminded the latter that a team from DPP held a meeting with its counterpart at DCEC to map the way forward.

“I’m informed that it was agreed at the meeting the DPP provide information pertaining to further investigation that is required to be carried out in order to have the case at hand ready for court,” said Tiroyakgosi.

He stated: “The under listed are tasks that have been advised and agreed to be undertaken by your officers; Areas to be covered; the investigation surrounding the passport.”

According to the DPP Director: “There are witnesses who testify that they were instructed to override the system in order to be able to make the passport in the names of Lorato Hilton. It is alleged that the passport was not handed over to the current Director General-DIS at the time when he was taking over the office.”

“We need to establish the status of on the way about (sic) of the passport and whether covert passports are a norm within the DIS. In the event that it is a norm, establish the rules and procedures that regulate it,” said Tiroyakgosi.

He informed Katholo: “An investigation surrounding the creation of this passport should be carried out. It is important to have a statement from the former Director of Immigration (Deputy Speaker Mabuse Pule) to establish the role he played in enabling the issuing of this passport.”

Tiroyakgosi said it was alleged that the same name Lorato Hilton was used to open a local company named Local Matter Pty Ltd which suspected to have (been) used for laundering purposes. Request that an investigation be carried surrounding that fact. 

He added: “It will support the evidence whether or not the passport was used for covert purposes.”

He informed the DCEC to conduct investigation relating to the offence of possession of unexplained property, Tiroyakgosi’s list include a house in Tawana ward, Phakalane, Extension 10, Metsimotlhabe (sold), Mogoditshane, Artesia, Nkoyaphiri and Block 7.  The list of property also includes a Toyota Fortuner, a Navara, a Toyota Fortuner, a BMW and another Toyota Fortuner.

“Currently it has been established that the accused person’s know source of income has always been her salary from her employment at DIS. It is therefore imperative to establish whether indeed he (sic) owns or control the above listed property because if it is established that he (sic) does then it would be incumbent upon to demonstrate how she could afford such properties given her known source of income,” he said. He added that “Take note that the file we received from you does not include witnesses’ statements to speak to the documents, may those be obtained.”

Tiroyakgosi also asked DCEC investigating officers to establish why Maswabi allegedly used the names Daisy Warren to secure property finance from one of the banks. 

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