Disaffection wrecks investigating agencies in “Butterfly” case
There is more finger-pointing than prosecutorial progress in the case that once baited the nation’s breath.
The standoff between the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over documents relating to the remaining charges against Wilhelmina Maswabi is intriguing.
Maswabi, who is otherwise known as “Butterfly,” is left with two charges after Broadhurst Magistrate dropped the one of financing terrorism against the DISS agent.
The DPP is now demanding further evidence from DCEC but the latter seems unwilling to assist and is blaming DISS for the apparent shortfall.
A savingram dated 18 January 2021 from DPP director Stephen Tiroyakgosi to DCEC director general Tymon Katlholo, reminds Katlholo that a team from DPP held a meeting with a DCEC team to strategise and chart the way forward in the alleged charges against Butterfly.
“I’m informed that it was agreed at the meeting that 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.
According the DPP director, the officers agreed to embark on areas to be covered and the investigation surrounding a certain passport. He advised investigation of a certain Lorato Hilton whose name was allegedly used to open a local company called Local Matter (Pty) Ltd purportedly for laundering purposes.
“It will support the evidence whether or not the passport was used for covert purposes.”
Tiroyakgosi also asked the DCEC to conduct investigation relating to the offence of possession of unexplained properties belonging to Maswabi in order for the DPP to be able prosecute her for the remaining charges of living beyond her means and being in possession of unexplained properties.
He wants evidence of houses at Tawana Phakalane, Extension 10, Metsimotlhabe (sold), Mogoditshane, Artesia, Nkoyaphiri and Block 7. The list of properties includes 3 Toyota Fortuners, a Nissan Navara, and a BMW.
“Currently it has been established that the accused person’s known source of income has always been her salary from her employment at DIS,” the DPP director wrote in the savigram. “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 a bank.
The Business Weekly & Review is in possession of documents in which the standoff between DISS, DCEC and the DPP over how the matter should proceed is almost palpable.
DPP was compelled by court to withdraw terrorism charges against Maswabi in a process that also questioned the alleged disappearance of P100 billion from the Bank of Botswana.
It has since emerged that in a meeting between the law enforcement agencies, DCEC accused the DPP and DISS of having preferred certain charges against Maswabi before concluding investigations. “This is against the law,” DCEC reportedly charged at its fellow law enforcement agencies.
DCEC has made it clear that the documentary evidence that it has did not meet the threshold for prosecution. Its team, which had also informed its counterparts at the 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 comply with the DPP’s demands.
In its reply to the savingram from the DPP director, DCEC also dared the DPP to go ahead with prosecution. It took issue with demands that it should probe false declaration of a passport, which is one the charges levelled against “Butterfly,” saying this did not fall within its mandate or purview.
However, the DCEC said 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.