Wednesday, May 27, 2020

State’s sloppy show at NPF case irks magistrate

BY MPHO KELEBOGE

Magistrate Masilo Mathaka of the Broadhurst Magistrates Court is not amused by State prosecutors’ failure to present a coherent case in the National Petroleum fund saga.

Mathaka has expressed concern at the manner in which the state is delaying and failing to provide High Court Judge Zein Kebonang, former Cabinet Minister Sadique Kebonang, business man Bakang Seretse and others with further particulars of specific offenses committed in the alleged multi million Pula National Petroleum Fund case.

The case started after the P230 million Pula was reported to have been illegally siphoned out of National Petroleum Fund.

Magistrate Mathaka raised concern after realizing that the state was self-contradicting on numerous occasions especially on committal of the matter to High Court and on when the defense lawyers would be furnished with further particulars of specific offences.

Kebonang’s lawyer Unoda Mack had asked the court why the state was failing to answer questions. He said the state has failed to answer if it’s possible for Kebonang to open a trust account for President Mokgweetsi Masisi without his knowledge.

“Is it possible to open a trust account at Briscoe Attorneys without Masisi’s knowledge, really is that possible? if yes, we need that evidence because we want to defend ourselves. The state should provide that specific answers or else we can’t commit the matter to the High court or the matter cannot go to trial  with a defective charge sheet like this and that is why we are asking court to discharge and acquit the accused, ”said Mack

Mack said his contention is that he is not asking for the impossible. He said documents before court show that more than P3 million was donated President Masisi’s campaign as a BDP candidate through Briscoe attorneys.

He said the state was failing to provide details of who received the remaining balance of P310 000.00 and how the balance was used.

Bakang Seretse’s lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae on the other hand stated that the state had on several occasions’ defied court orders and wondered why they were asking the same court to accept their plea to make an application for supplementary answers.

He said the court cannot review itself and asked Magistrate Mathaka to turn down their plea for supplementary answers.

Ngakaagae said the defense was against supplementary answers because they wanted the magistrate to make a ruling on the quashing of the charge sheet.

He said this was akin to charging an accused with breaking into a house with intent to commit a punishable offense which offense shall not be named.

Ngakaagae asked the court to discharge and acquit the accused from the 169 charges they are facing which emanated from the impropriety of the P230 million from the National Petroleum fund.

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