- Batshu decries case management delays
- Hold Permanent Secretaries accountable -Boko
urges AGC lawyers
Selibe-Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse says as the Opposition in parliament, they are concerned by the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s lack of autonomy due to the interference of the executive.
Keorapetse said despite enormous efforts by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to investigate lawyers, politicians, senior government officials and corporate executives in the Private Sector, DPP is yet to independently prosecute most of the cases, some dating back 5 years.
He said most of the cases investigated, implicate prominent public and corporate figures either directly or otherwise- associated with the government executive.
“What has happened to the dockets sent to DPP, of cases involving Botswana Railways (BR), Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and Botswana Meat Commission (BMC),” Keorapetse posed also asking where witnesses and exhibits of the cases were.
“We have the Director of the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS), Isaac Kgosi whose docket is at the DCEC, and subsequently his second docket is there but he is yet to see his day in court,” he pointed out.
Keorapetse who is also the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Publicity Secretary says Botswana prides itself of being a republic that observes the rule of law, but some Batswana in this country are above the law. He called for review in the appointment of the DPP director saying the current arrangement is purposeless.
“The prosecutorial discretion in terms of our constitution is vested in the Director of DPP and if you have somebody who is not independent then we will have cases at the DPP not been prosecuted,” he said.
Turning to the Attorney General Chambers, Keorapetse said the department continues to bring oversight legislation drafts to parliament that are watered down while it should strive to advise on tightened legislation. He also took swipe at Office of the Ombudsman saying it is and has always been toothless.
For his part, Palapye legislature Moiseraele Goya decried high staff turnover of highly skilled and experienced lawyers at AG Chambers, especially those at litigation and drafting divisions. He called upon Minister Kgathi to come up with attractive remunerations that could help retain AGC lawyers.
“Backlog eradication is a song sung in many of governments departments hence an opportunistic concern in terms of pending cases in the courts of law,” Goya shared.
MP for Nkange, Edwin Batshu also shared his constituents’ concerns citing delays in prosecuting cases. He blamed the entire justice system- the police investigators, DPP, AGC as driving factors to the delays. Currently there are 8 679 pending cases in courts.
Batshu says the delay in justice is also a motivational factor to other potential thieves who deem the system poor and continue to venture into small stock and other serious crimes.
Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko blamed ministry principals for failing to take serious issues of high staff turnover at AGC. He also said poor conditions of service are driving factors that chase away lawyers at AGC, and that the same lawyers are lowly paid compared to those in the private sector.
Boko also said there is a disturbing trend of ‘administrative arrogance’ in government, more critically at the level of directors up to permanent secretaries. He said when some of the senior government officials are given legal advice by the relevant attorney of the AGC not to pursue matters, genuinely so, they forcefully urge attorneys to argue the matters regardless.
Boko however advised the AGC lawyers to seriously interrogate matters referred to them by various ministry accounting officers before considering litigation.