DISS boss Kgosi escapes jail by a whisker
- Judge angry at Kgosi’s disrespect of the courts
- Gives Kgosi’s lawyers 15 minutes to comply or face jail
- Kgosi moves swiftly to comply with the court order to escape jail
A last-minute compliance with a court order last-week saved Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss Isaac Kgosi a 30-day imprisonment embarrassment following his undisguised refusal to comply with an order to furnish Shathani Basiami with her travelling documents and those of her children.
Justice Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe who compelled the state to comply within 15 minutes, was making a ruling in an urgent application seeking that Kgosi be jailed for refusing to furnish Basiami with travelling documents.
“I am not trigger-happy and I will not be moving my guns to imprison the DISS director on his failure or refusal to comply because I do not see a reason why they would refuse to comply with the court order. Nobody is above the law,” the judge told Basiame’s lawyer, Aobakwe Monamo, who wanted Kgosi to be showed that he is not above the law.
The courts had previously ruled that the confiscation of Basiami’s documents by the DISS was unlawful but the spy agency insisted that she was still under investigation for acquiring her dual citizenship fraudulently; she holds a Canada and Botswana passport.
She made the urgent application a day before her scheduled return to Canada where she stays, as the DISS had not returned her and her children’s passports.
There had been a dispute between Kgosi and Basiami’s lawyers prior to the proceedings, with the latter’s lawyers accusing the state lawyers and the DISS of refusing to receive the urgent application notice. State lawyers insisted that they were served the papers after working hours.
“I want to put it to the lawyers representing the DISS before entertain such an application (to jail Kgosi), will your client be submitting the passports or not as per the order?” asked Justice Ketlogetswe, prompting state lawyers to accede to a 15 minute ultimatum he gave them to surrender Basiami’s travelling documents.
This led to drama in which the lawyers rushed outside to call Kgosi, asking him to rush to court to submit the passports. He however told them that he was not in the country, something that led to a frustrated lawyer to plead “Please guys let’s just comply, this is a court order, failure to comply could give rise to unwanted consequences”.
The 15 minutes ordered by the court however elapsed with DISS officers saying they were still on the way, leading to an adjournment to give them more time. However when one of the state lawyers called to follow up, a female DISS officer said they should come and collect the passports.
“Guys please, please where are you, you have been saying you are coming all day,” said a state lawyer after grabbing a phone from a colleague. A court clerk scolded state lawyers to stop wasting the court’s time, upon which they rushed to collect Basiamis’ passports themselves, ultimately surrendering them to her.