DCEC has the last laugh in “Butterfly” case

  • DPP’s Stephen Tiroyakgosi could be prosecuted for perfury
  • Investigator Jako Hubona may find himself deserted
  • DCEC head Tymon Katlholo is studying the judgment

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime’s (DCEC) position that the state did not have enough evidence to prosecute suspended Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi, code-named “Butterfly,” in the P100 billion case has been vindicated.

On Monday, Justice Zein Kebonang dismissed the case and acquitted Maswabi, saying evidence used to prosecute her was fabricated.

The “Butterfly” case has dragged on for more than two years and has brought serious divisions among state entities, namely the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the DCEC.

At the centre of the case was that the investigating body, DCEC, was not convinced that the state had enough evidence to prosecute but the DPP and DIS maintained that the state had a case. Earlier this month, the DPP, through the Botswana Police Service, evoked Section 13 of the National Security Act, to compel the head of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo, and his assistants to release all evidence relating to the case or face imprisonment.

The suspicion, which was confirmed by South Africa-based Advocate Gerrie Nel, was that critical evidence was being withheld by other law enforcement agencies in Botswana and South Africa.

In his judgement this week, Justice Dr Zein Kebonang ordered Jako Hubona, who was the lead investigator, investigated for perjury while DPP ‘s Stephen Tiroyakgosi “is referred to the President of Botswana as the appointing authority to consider his removal from office of the DPP…”

Dr Kebonang also referred Tiroyakgosi to the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) for investigation and appropriate sanction. “The first respondent is also referred to the Attorney General as his line supervisor for investigation and possible prosecution,” Justice Kebonang ordered.

Further, Investigator Hubona has been referred to the Commissioner of Police for prosecution for perjury and to the DCEC Director General as his line supervisor for disciplinary action. Attorney Priscilla Israel has been referred to LSB for investigation and appropriate sanction.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, Katlholo told The Botswana Gazette that they were still studying the judgement before they could make any decision. “There are other players that are involved in the judgement, so we also still have to engage them,” Katlholo stated.

He added that he was not in a position to say whether DCEC did comply with orders from the DPP to release all evidence relating to the case. Attempts to reach the Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe and police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe were unsuccessful as their phones rang unanswered on Tuesday.

Before being relieved of his duties as head of the DCEC in October 2020, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo was on the verge of taking disciplinary action against Hubona for executing his duties without the authority of the DCEC in the “Butterfly” case.

In his affidavit deposed in court last year, Hubona confirmed that he was assisting and supporting investigations by BPS and DIS against “Butterfly.” In the course of the case, Hubona made serious allegations that implicated former president Ian Khama, former spy chief Issac Kgosi and South African businesswomen Bridgette Motsepe Radebe in the alleged theft of P100 billion from the Bank of Botswana.

He is one of the respondents in the P85 million defamation suit against the state brought by Khama, Kgosi, Motsepe and “Butterfly.” Impecable sources say DCEC does not have any intention of defending Hubona in the case.