- Court acquits them of P250M NPF Charges due to lack of evidence
- State faces possible suit for malicious prosecution
- Justice Kebonang to resume work
Apanel of three Gaborone High Court judges, Christopher Gabanagae, Abednego Tafa and Matlhogonolo Phuthego, has acquitted the Kebonang brothers, High Court judge Zein and former minister Sadique, on charges of looting P250 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).
The twins had applied to court to review and set aside the decision by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prosecute them on grounds of lack of valid evidence. The court yesterday (Tuesday) ruled in favour of the Kebonang brothers.
The twins had argued that the conduct of the DPP and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) was a clear violation of their rights and a malicious and unlawful abuse of power, especially their constant and systematic leaking of investigations.
Kebonang accused the DPP of malicious prosecution fuelled by intent to destroy him. He accused the DPP of contriving charges against him and concealing documents in order to prosecute him on a lie.
Zein had said the plan to destroy him was not accidental but had been planned and coordinated by the DPP through a number of newspaper articles, deliberate leaks and falsehoods.
The decision by the court means that Zein – who has been on an open-ended leave of absence on full pay pending finalization of the case – may resume duty at his own convenience.
Commenting on the judgement, Sadique applauded the judiciary for continuing in its duty of protecting people’s rights. “We shouldn’t have been charged in the first place, and it is sad that we are even where we are today,” he told The Botswana Gazette in a brief interview after the judgment. When asked, Kebonang did not dismiss the possibility of suing the state for malicious prosecution.