- State: Absence of official hand over is no excuse to hold on to state property
- Defence: The state desperately wants Kgosi in jail
- Khama, Morupisi testify for Kgosi
The state is facing a huge task of explaining why it has only now decided to charge former top spy Issac Kgosi over belongings that were recently found in his possession despite having known about them for more than two years.
Kgosi’s attorney, Unoda Mack, has asserted to The Botswana Gazette that the the firearms, armoured military vests and travel documents found in Kgosi’s possession during the most recent raid on his home in Phakalane by secret agents were not a new discovery.
Mack said he is aware that the state had found them when the house was first raided in January 2019 but did not press any charges. It is thus shocking for the state to charge Kgosi now, he asserted. “Even the state has admitted that they knew about them before,” said Mack.
The former head of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS), who was fired by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in April 2018, is currently facing six charges ranging from possession of ammunition without a licence, possession of armoured military vests resembling those of the Botswana Police Service and those of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), and possession of fake passports. According to the charge sheet, Kgosi is accused of undermining the security of Botswana, which is prejudicial to the interests of the country and contrary to the National Security Act.
He was recently granted bail after spending two days in DISS custody.
His defence lawyer has charged that the state is desperate to have Kgosi behind bars for no reason. “The real reason we are here is because they want the accused in jail so that he does not enjoy his civil liberties,” Mack pressed on when he opposed the prosecution’s review application for Kgosi’s bail on Monday. “In any event, there is no suggestion that there is non-compliance with the bail conditions and it is with that (in mind that) I submit that this application is not urgent. The state has failed to prove any harm imminent.”
Meanwhile, the state may suffer a heavy blow as former president Ian Khama and his former permanent secretary, Carter Morupisi, have decided to testify for Kgosi in the case. Morupisi has deposed an affidavit in support of Kgosi. He states that it was not Kgosi’s fault that he failed to hand over the items that he was found in possession of and that it was his successor Peter Magosi who chose to delay to follow up on Kgosi’s request to hand over the properties.
On the other hand, the state argues that the fact that Kgosi’s claim that he was unable to return all belongings of the state in his possession because there was no proper handing over between himself and Magosi cannot be allowed to stand before in court.
Said the prosecution lawyer, Thapelo Mafishane: “The accused says there was no official hand over from him to the current Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service. The suggestion that three years down the line he is still waiting for the current DG to come and collect items in his custody is not reasonable and defies logic. That cannot simply be correct or stand.”
The decision on whether Kgosi should be remanded in police custody for 14 days days or not pending completion of investigations will be delivered on Friday 5 November 2021. The matter is before Justice Michael Motlhabi.