- State fails evidence test
- Applies for withdrawal of charges
- Defence opposes application
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is finding itself in an invidious position with regards to the P100 billion embezzlement case involving agent of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Welheminah Maswabi, who is otherwise known by her codename of “Butterfly.”
Speaking in Court this week, “Butterfly’s” defence lawyer, Unoda Mack, said his client’s liberties have been trampled upon for far too long.
Mack told the court that the state has dismally failed to furnish the accused with thorough evidence linking her to the charges.
As the main accused in the alleged P100 billion embezzlement of the Bank of Botswana (BoB) money, Maswabi initially faced three charges, namely possession of unexplained wealth, false declaration of passport and terrorism financing.
However, DPP withdrew the terrorism charge late last year and has moved to withdraw the other in a matter that is still before the courts.
Defence lawyer Mack said what the DPP attached as evidence when responding to the defence request for further particulars is far from being the truth.
“What the DPP says are houses owned by “Butterfly,” some of the houses are owned by Botswana Housing Cooperation (BHC) and some other people (but) not the applicant,” he said.
According to the defence, despite listing a number of properties alleged to be under the ownership of the accused, the DPP did not provide sufficient evidence linking her to such property.
In this matter that is before Justice Dr. Zein Kebonang, the DISS agent wants an acquittal and discharge and has moved to oppose the decision by the state to withdraw charges.
Essentially, the accused wants the court to make declarations that the DPP evidence against her was contaminated. “The essence of this application is a complaint against the DPP,” said Mack.
Appearing for the state, Deputy Attorney General Charles Gulubane raised a query relating to parallel proceedings.
He asserted that it was inappropriate for the matter to be heard before the Gaborone High Court while the substantive matter was before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court.
“It is against public policy to have parallel processes,” he argued. “That is our point, my Lord.”
According to the senior state attorney, the High Court has no jurisdiction over the matter. “It cannot be heard (here) because it is a matter before the magistrates’ court,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, the DPP has applied for a withdrawal of charges without prejudice, meaning that the charges may be reinstated at a later stage. But Maswabi has opposed this move by the prosecution.
“Butterfly” wants the prosecution to free her because she holds that it failed to prove the charges against her.