Friday, December 1, 2023

The P30m Jamali court maelstrom

The case in which property and media moghul Sayed Jamali is suing the state for P30 million has branched off into a fresh controversy that threatens to open a can of worms as the businessmen demands access to the presiding judge’s phone records.

Jamali also wants Judge Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe to recuse himself from the case, citing a conflict of interest.

In papers filed before the High Court, Jamali through his lawyers Kanjabanga & Associates, states that the basis for their request to access Ketlogetswe’s phone records is to establish if the judge “maintained contact with defendant parties (Attorney General representing the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime) in this matter”.

“As indicated in our previous appearance before you, we have been instructed to apply for your recusal as the presiding judge in this matter,” states Jamali’s lawyers.

They further state that: “We have also been instructed to request your phone records that cover the period from August 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016. The records herein would relate to both your official landline telephone numbers and mobile numbers.”

The lawyers informed Ketlogetswe that should they fail to receive such records within seven days after “service of this letter on you, we will have no option but to apply to court for an order that the telephone companies provide such details”.  Court papers show that the letter was received by the High Court Civil Registry on April 5, 2017.

Ketlogetswe, through the Attorney General, is yet to respond to the property mogul’s demands. Jamali has since filed a lawsuit against the Botswana Government demanding more than P30 million in damages following charges of corrupting an official employee which were subsequently dropped.

Jamali, who was charged together with Deputy Permanent Secretary Victor Rantshabeng, and his company Universal Builders, were granted a permanent stay of prosecution in 201l after Justice Michael Leburu found that they could not be afforded a fair trial as entrenched in the Constitution.

The judge found that there had been unreasonable delay in their prosecution in sequence of which the two respondents would be irreparably prejudiced if the prosecution was to be proceeded with.

Seven years later, Jamali through his lawyers state in court papers that in initiating the prosecution, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) was actuated by an improper, indirect and malicious motive of harming his name, reputation, his business and that of his company.


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