Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tafa raises the bars to save Seretse

The defence team acting for former Minister of Defence and Security, Ndelu Seretse, has made an impassioned application for his acquittal.

Led by Parks Tafa, a Senior Partner at Collins Newman & Co, Seretse’s defence says because the state has chosen to decline to prosecute when given the opportunity to do so by the court, it is only proper that their client not only be discharged but also acquitted of the single charge of corruption he faces.

In a lengthy submission that was often characterised by altercations with lead prosecutor, Mr. Letswalo, Tafa said since the state has chosen to decline to prosecute, it is only proper that they [Directorate of Public Prosecutions] are made to live with the consequences of their decision.
“Never have we seen such a dishonest prosecution being so boldly asserted without merit, devoid of substance, that even when the state’s case is in a state of wreckage, having failed to continue with the prosecution and having unequivocally declined to prosecute, they still do not want an acquittal,” Tafa argued.

It was at this point that Tafa attracted a spirited objection from Mr. Letswalo who asked the court to confine Tafa strictly to points of law.

The court, however, ruled in Tafa’s favour, saying he was only giving examples to give substance to principles of law.

When he continued, Tafa said from the decision of the state to decline to prosecute, “there can be no other logical conclusion other than to discharge and acquit.”

Tafa said by declining to prosecute, the state has effectively “abandoned” their case.

He said after the court had ordered for the case to proceed, the DPP could either have withdrawn the charges or withdrawn the prosecution without prejudice, which would have allowed them to reinstate them at a later day, but having not done either only an acquittal was appropriate.

It was also an option for the court, Tafa said, to examine the evidence already placed before it to determine if there could be any conviction deriving from such evidence already given.

According to Tafa, the two state witnesses so far called had effectively collapsed the case against Seretse.

“The belated attempt by the state to say they need more time to subpoena witnesses is a lame excuse. When they said they were abandoning the case they never said they had any difficulty with subpoenaing witnesses, late as it is,” said Tafa.

He said as a result the state was as sincere as they were malafide.

“They have brought frivolous application after frivolous application, clearly to frustrate the continuation of the trial. Even as court orders were given against them they failed to abide. When the trial eventually started after a plea was taken and dates were secured by consent of both parties, the state, as the records will bear us out, embarked upon deliberate steps that ensured the trial was completely side-tracked, derailed to an extent that it never took place as the court was preoccupied with one application after the other at the instance of the state until the final day when the court gave up and allowed them to go to the High Court.”

Tafa said having been sent packing by the High Court some four months later “we are back to square one with the same reprehensible tactics”.

The strategy, said Tafa, was to deny the court an opportunity to ensure justice was done.
He said there was a hidden agenda to abuse process.

“They want to achieve an ulterior motive, the objective and purpose of which is not the one aimed at bringing the accused person to account for the alleged criminal activity. This is an abuse of the power to prosecute,” Tafa said.

The Regional Magistrate, Barnabas Nyamadzabo, is expected to make a ruling on August 17.

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The Telegraph November 25

Digital edition of The Telegraph, November 25, 2020.