- Tiroyakgosi’s reputation in tatters
- Public trust in the judicial system lessened
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has suffered irreparable damage that has corroded the integrity of the judicial system in Botswana, says a prominent Gaborone lawyer.
This comes in the aftermath of a lengthy judicial process that sought to nail a Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) agent for alleged theft of funds from the Bank of Botswana.
The DPP’s reputation came under the spotlight this week when Gaborone High Court judge, Dr. Zein Kebonang, discharged and acquitted Welheminah Maswabi, codenamed “Butterfly,” in the now infamous P100 billion case.
Responding to an email enquiry from The Business Weekly & Review on the matter, partner at Thabiso Tafila Attorneys, Diba Diba, said the judgement paints a damning picture of the prosecutors. “The judgment paints a damning picture of prosecutorial misconduct never seen or imagined before in our country,” Diba responded. Diba is former Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana.
“The allegations of suppression of exculpatory evidence from the defence and the court, encouraging deceit from witnesses and fabrication of evidence, are some of the worst which could be levelled against a prosecutor.”
According to Diba, the alleged misconduct against the DPP brings disrepute to Botswana’s criminal justice system. He notes that the allegations of misconduct against prosecutors impugns the professional and ethical characters of those involved who need to be given a fair opportunity to clear their names and the law enforcement agencies they work for.
Significantly, Diba says those accused of prosecutorial misconduct should be investigated for such behaviour. “It is critical that those allegations be investigated by the appropriate authorities,” he notes. “It is in the society’s interest to know whether or not the people we entrusted with ensuring that justice is done are doing that. If these allegations turn out to be true, are there any innocent people languishing in jail on account of prosecutorial misconduct? That is chilling.”
According to the legal expert, the role of a prosecutor is a vital cog in the administration of the criminal justice system. He says the role of the DPP is to “to protect the innocent and convict the guilty” rather than to “win cases or to convict accused persons at all costs”.
In addition, says the DPP’s role is to see that justice is done at all costs in the best interests of the society and to do so ethically.
Following more than two years, the High Court has finally brought to an end the country’s most followed money scandal in modern history. In the case, a spy codenamed “Butterfly” was initially charged with financing terrorism, false declaration of passport and unexplained wealth.
Despite the DPP having dropped the financing terrorism charge and its pending application for a withdrawal of charges at the Broadhurst Magistrates Court, the High Court this week set the accused free on all counts and even recommended for the firing of DPP director Stephen Tiroyakgosi who has been under siege for some time now.
Efforts to get a comment from Tiroyakgosi were unsuccessful at press time.