Thursday, May 6, 2021

Two lawyers convicted of fraud

Former Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Nelson Bopa, on Friday convicted Gaborone lawyer, Hebert Sikhakhane, and Francistown lawyer, Tiro Mothusi, of fraud and suspended sentencing till May 12.

The conviction comes after Mothusi’s bid to have the sentence postponed till one of the witnesses, Akofang Moasetso, could be recalled to give evidence was denied by Lobatse High Court judge Maruping Dibotelo.

Mothusi had wanted Moasetso to be recalled on grounds that he had proved to be a very unreliable witness.
Moasetso had, whilst he was still working as a prison warden, first given evidence supporting Mothusi’s case that he was wrongly accused but during cross examination later the same day, he changed the story and said that he was bribed by Mothusi to say all he had said during evidence in chief.

Moasetso, who has since left service under suspicious circumstances, was, during his service in Francistown Central Prison, accused by a serving prisoner called Julius who said that he had collected some money from him so as to speed up his appeal at the High Court.

After several attempts to get his money back from Moasetso, Julius reported the matter to the DCEC and this was confirmed by DCEC Director, Tymon Katlholo, who said that they were still investigating the matter to see if there was a case against Moasetso.

After DCEC had failed to take action, Julius had engaged the services of attorney Ookeditse Maphakwane to get his money back.

In his affidavits, Julius claimed that Moasetso had told him not to worry about the payment of his money as DCEC had agreed to pay the money.

This was, however, denied by Katlholo who said that they did not know about the matter. Moasetso finally had his Toyota auctioned by deputy sheriffs to pay the debt.

Another witness that he had wanted recalled was the former chief investigation officer in the matter, Moloko, who was charged with fraud.
He was alleged to have misappropriated some money which was to be used as exhibit in a fraud case.

The two lawyers were accused of having fraudulently obtained more than P1million from the government of Botswana between October 2003 and January, 2004.

In a related matter set to be heard on April 30, Mothusi faces two counts of corruption and fabricating evidence whilst Tengo Rubadiri, who was initially representing him, faces a charge of obtaining stolen property.

Mothusi is alleged to have offered Moasetso a reward to unlawfully obtain a prisoner’s docket belonging to a certain Philemon Malekane, a former inmate at Kasane prison and that he had made false entries into Malekane’s docket.

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