BUTTERFLY CASE INVESTIGATORS IN DAGER
DCEC’s Hubona, prosecutor Israel placed under heavy protection
The state has placed Detective Jako Hubona of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) and senior prosecutor Priscilla Israel of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions under heavy escort and protection.
Both are handling the high profile P100 billion case in which loads of money were allegedly stolen from the Bank of Botswana.
The two are engaged in a mammoth task of prosecuting a high profile matter involving high profile suspects, former president Ian Khama, former spy chief Isaac Kgosi and agent of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Wilheminah Maswabi, code-named Butterfly. The Gazette has established that the officers requested the protection fearing for their lives because of the type of characters they are dealing with, among them former senior army officers and a top spy. The trio are also mentioned in a terrorism charge that Maswabi has been slapped with. Khama, who was heavily criticised around the extra-judicial killing of John Kalafatis in May 2009 and pardoning his convicted murderers, has warned that Botswana is headed for a crash-landing.
Pressed to clarify and justify the heavy protection for the investigator and the prosecutor, the Director General of DCEC, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo, responded: “It is normal for officers who feel vulnerable to seek support of any kind, including protection.” Mathambo was terse and declared himself as unwilling to field any further questions because he was on leave. His counterpart at the secret service, Peter Magosi, similarly said he was not willing to engage or share information on the matter. “I cannot discuss that now,” Magosi retorted. “Please accept my apology.”
Even so, a highly-placed source said “the two are shielded from external influences, including potential threats from the defendants and intimidation by other interested parties”. The Gazette had not ascertained the nature of the escort and protection at the time of going to press. The secret service, together with the DCEC and the DPP, claims that Khama and Kgosi ransacked the central bank and made away with P100 billion during Khama’s reign as president. DCEC investigator Jako Hubona alleges in an affidavit deposed in court that Khama and Kgosi instructed the Bank of Botswana to open three bank accounts into which the looted public funds were deposited.
Khama is not happy with Hubona’s conduct and his lawyers, Ramalepa Attorneys, say Hubona has a habit of fabricating evidence on a regular basis to suit his own narrative, hence the concoction of lies against them. They cited the Regional Magistrate’s court for the Gaborone Ministerial Region’s judgement under criminal case number CMRRS-000003-18 delivered October 11, 2019 which found that Hubona fabricated evidence by adding extrinsic content to a witness’s sworn statement. Kgosi, who accompanied Khama at a press conference to rebut the allegations, has said that his time will come when he shall speak.
Kgosi threatens DCEC investigators..
This is not the first time that the DCEC has expressed distrust of Kgosi and his ways. Former DCEC director Rose Seretse once excoriated Kgosi in a savingram revealing how his staff threatened, intimidated and spied on DCEC officers who were investigating allegations of corruption against him (Kgosi).
The savingram said Kgosi had threatened the DCEC Assistant Director, Eugene Wasetso, who was then one of the officers investigating allegations of corruption against Kgosi. “I am advised that on Thursday 8th March 2012 you threatened this Directorate’s Senior Assistant Director Mr Wasetso,” stated the letter from the DCEC director to Kgosi.
“Known DISS officers have been observed conducting surveillance of DCEC headquarters. I am also advised by my staff that DISS officers have been seen shrivelling DCEC staff performing duties away from DCEC headquarters in the course of this investigation.
“This was always going to be a difficult investigation. This Directorate is attempting to conduct a thorough and objective investigation with a view to resolving the allegations in a proper manner. This cannot happen if my staff are to be subjected to threats, intimidation and ongoing surveillance. You will recall that you had made an undertaking to cooperate and support the DCEC during this investigation. However, the situation on the ground appears not to be so.” It is not the first time DCEC officers investigating Kgosi are accorded extra security. Some time ago they were protected by several security organs, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), in an expensive operation. A local publication then reported that Kgosi investigators feared for their lives, hence the operation warranted high-level protection.
“The danger was so serious that at the height of the investigation, DIS operatives threatened some of the investigators. Even the DCEC boss Rose Seretse and her deputy, Donald Mckenzie – an Australian citizen – were not spared.