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“Butterfly”prosecutors learn to shoot?

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But both DPP and DISS say they know nothing about it

TEFO PHEAGE

Detective Jako Hubona of DCEC and senior prosecutor Priscilla Israel of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions – both key in the high profile case in which P100 billion was allegedly stolen from the Bank of Botswana – could be taking pistol shooting training for their own defence.

However, until it was approached by this publication, DPP may not have been aware of this development involving one of its own and so could not have sanctioned it. Similarly, DCEC says its investigators are not allowed to handle rearms.

The detective and the prosecutor were placed under protection upon re- quest at the beginning of this year after they informed their superiors that they feared for their lives in the course of the case in which powerful individuals, former president Ian Khama, former spy chief Isaac Kgosi and DISS agent Wilheminah Maswabi, are involved.

The Gazette has established that the two officers from DCEC and DPP have in recent times been taking defensive target shooting lessons inspite of disagreements over their protection. Said a source: “Hubona and Israel are currently receiving foundational hand-gun training. These intensive classes are also an introduction to core shooting principles. The decision came about after the escort team raised a complaint that escorting was becoming a burden to both the escort team and the two.

“Some of the concerns are that the escort team feels abused as they have to follow the two everywhere, including when they engage in very personal and absolutely private business. What is being said in low tones is that perhaps the parameters of the escort should be revised or the entire matter be handed to the police.”

According to this source, the team wants regular police to take over protection and escort of the two and for the secret service to play a supportive role. According to police spokesman, Dipheko Motube, “the police do provide protection upon request in civil and criminal cases after thorough assessment of (a) request”.

The Director of DPP, Stephen Tiroyakgosi, told The Botswana Gazette in an interview that he was not aware that Israel was taking self-defence lessons in the use of rearms and that the law did not permit his officers to undergo such training.

At the DCEC, spokesman Lentswe Motshoganetsi said while DCEC investigators are currently not allowed to handle rearms, the corruption busting agency has been motivating for that. Motshoganetsi added that DCEC currently relies on the police, DISS and the army for support in cases of protection,“We have made a strong case to be allowed to handle rearms and it is something that we’re working on,” he said.

Regarding Hubona specifically, Motshoganetsi answered: “What I can confirm is that the DCEC has not allowed or sent anybody to go for such training.”DISS director Brigadier Peter Magosi denied that Hubona and Israel were undergoing rearms training at the behest of DISS and would not shed a new light on the status of the protection and escort of the two because “these are operational issues”.

Khama and Kgosi are mentioned in a terrorism charge that DISS  agent Maswabi, codenamed “Butterfly,” faces. Khama, who was heavily criticised around the extra-judicial killing of John Kalafatis in May 2009 and for pardoning his convicted murderers, has warned that Botswana is headed for a crash-landing.

The foundind director of DISS, Kgosi, has often attracted controversy. Former DCEC director Rose Seretse once excoriated him in a savingram because DISS agents were allegedly threatening, intimidating and spying on DCEC officers who were investigating allegations of corruption against Kgosi at the time.

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 shriveling (sic) DCEC staff performing duties away from DCEC headquarters in the course of this investigation.”

In the current matter before the courts, DISS, together with the DCEC and the DPP, allege 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 allegedly stolen public funds were deposited.

In the course of this case, Khama has pointed a finger at Hubona. His lawyers, Ramalepa Attorneys, say Hubona has a habit of fabricating evidence to suit his own narrative, hence the concoction of lies against them. They cited a Gaborone Regional Magistrate judgement in criminal case number CMRRS-000003-18 that was delivered on October 11, 2019 which found that Hubona had fabricated evidence by adding extrinsic content to a witness’s sworn statement. Kgosi has said that his time to speak will come.

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