- DPP accuses DCEC of withholding “Butterfly” docket
- DCEC chiefs could face imprisonment for non-compliance
- DCEC maintains it has no evidence and docket on“Butterfly”
- Review of withdrawal in court today
LAWRENCE SERETSE & LETLHOGILE MPUANG
In pursuit of nailing DISS agent Wilheminah Maswabi, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has turned up the heat on its own allies, the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) for evidence that DPP believes could help convict the agent known as “Butterfly”
According to sources within Botswana Police Service (BPS), the head of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo, and his assistants were last week issued with a demand to release all the evidence relating to the case or face imprisonment, The Botswana Gazette has established.
South Africa-based Advocate Gerrie Nel recently told journalists at a press briefing in Gaborone that although he recommended that it would be “irresponsible” of the State to proceed with prosecution without sufficient evidence, the State remains convinced that critical evidence is being withheld by other law enforcement agencies in Botswana and South Africa. The latest twist in the tale is that last Friday, DPP Director Stephen Tiroyakgosi issued a notice instructing BPS to search and seize from DCEC every document and evidence that is in connection with the “Butterfly” case.
The instruction was issued through the Section 13 sub-sections 1 and 2 of the National Security Act. Under this law, any person who, having been required to give information or to attend at a specified time and place, willfully fails to comply with such a requirement or knowingly gives false information, shall be guilty of an offence. Such crimes can attract imprisonment not exceeding 12 years.
While the DPP is still determined to pursue previous charges against “Butterfly,” among them terrorism, DCEC officials could find themselves in violation of the National Security Act and the Terrorism Act if they fail to comply with the notice. BPS sources say violation of these could open DCEC officials to charges of abetting terrorism that can attract prison sentences of up to 30 years.
Asked about the notice which this publication has seen, Katlholo did not deny receiving the order but chose not to engage over the matter with the media on Monday this week. Some DCEC officers tasked with the “Butterfly” case confirmed being slapped with the
However, the Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe, who is the lawyer for the state, told this publication that the DPP has independent powers and that he was therefore constrained to comment.
Tiroyakgosi declined to discuss this issue saying it was a matter between the DCEC and the DPP while the Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe did not answer his phones at the time of going to press.
DCEC: THE DOCKET? WHAT DOCKET?
The background to this is that DCEC has been consistent that it was never involved in charges submitted before the courts after DISS and the DPP seconded investigator Jako Hubona without involving DCEC.
Former head of DCEC Brigadier Joseph Mathambo has gone on record to disown Hubona’s submissions to the DPP on the matter.
In a leaked audio recording of a meeting with the DPP and DISS, the DCEC maintained that there was no evidence for them to submit to the prosecutor. DCEC submitted that they had previously spoken to DPP’s deputy director at the time and to DISS Director General Peter Magosi and suggested that as far as DCEC was concerned, they did not want to intrude on the mandate of the DPP.
PLOT TO FIRE DCEC TOP BRASS?
Observers believe that the latest move by the DPP might be a plot by some forces within Government Enclave to get rid of some DCEC officials. Sources say former DCEC Director
General Brigadier Joseph Mathambo was fired because he was said to be refusing to hand over the “Butterfly” docket to the DPP. Mathambo had on several occasions also stated that they did not have enough evidence to produce a docket on Maswabi.
In another twist recently, the state requested to withdraw the case without prejudice but “Butterfly” opposed it in preference for an acquittal – which will be reviewed before court today (Wednesday).
“Butterfly” has been charged with terrorism financing, false declaration of passports and possession of unexplained property.