High Court Calls on DPP to Safeguard Judicial Integrity

DPP called to ensure that courts are not co-opted into presiding over ill-fated cases


The High Court has advised the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to uphold the integrity of the judicial system by ensuring that the courts are not drawn into overseeing contentious cases lacking in essential grounds for a successful prosecution.
This comes in the wake of a protracted legal battle between former spymaster Isaac Kgosi and the state over Kgosi’s firearms and ammunition. In making his ruling, Justice Dr Zeinub Kebonang did not spare the DPP.
“The DPP has a duty in discharging her prosecutorial functions to protect the integrity of the courts by ensuring that courts function as courts and are not co opted into presiding over ill-fated cases that do not meet the requisite threshold for a successful prosecution,” he said.

Abuse of power
“On the basis of the documents before me, I have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that the charges against Kgosi arising from the registration and licensing of his firearms are malafide and a glaring abuse of power.
“The charges are doomed to fail. It follows that the mootness application must fail with costs in favour of the respondent (Kgosi).”
The judge expressed a deep concern about the destructive nature of the prolonged feud, asserting that it has adversely affected careers and lives while permeating various government agencies.
Describing the case as a clash characterised by mutual dislike and mistrust between Kgosi and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service, Justice Kebonang emphasised the negative repercussions on the smooth functioning of government agencies.

Harm to the nation
He warned that the prolonged impasse poses a serious threat to the rule of law and the sanctity of institutions, potentially causing further harm to the nation.
The legal dispute stems from an application filed by Isaac Kgosi in 2020 seeking the immediate return of his firearms and ammunition, along with corresponding permits and additional relief.
The state, in response, filed an interlocutory application to declare Kgosi’s application moot, arguing that the criminal proceedings initiated against him make his claims irrelevant.
However, in his defence, Kgosi maintained that the firearms and ammunition seized by the state were lawfully registered and licensed by the Botswana Police Service.

No legal basis
He argued that there was no legal basis for their confiscation and that the mere institution of criminal proceedings against him does not negate his ownership or possession of the firearms.
In his ruling, Justice Kebonang criticised the state, stating: “Regarding the warrant issued by the Magistrates Court, it should have been apparent to (the state) that it did not authorise the seizure of (Kgosi’s) firearms.
“Without a court order, the state conduct amounts to self-help and is in breach of the law.”
He asserted that the charges against Kgosi arising from the registration and licensing of his firearms appear malicious and represent an abuse of power.
In the end, Justice Kebonang ruled that the mootness application must fail, with costs in favour of Kgosi.