Way past the hour for the much-anticipated return of embattled former head of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS), Isaac Kgosi, who is expected to attend his court case today (Tuesday), confusion was reigning supreme within the law enforcement community last night on whether the man should be arrested or not, writes TEFO PHEAGE
Kgosi’s warrant of arrest is already out, but the actual arrest will occur only when the law enforcement agencies which are on red alert, locate him.
Botswana’s most high profile fugitive, Kgosi, was spotted somewhere in South Africa yesterday according to intelligence sources, lending credence to his lawyers’ recent assertion that the former head of the DISS had finally decided to come and have his day in court. Others however say Kgosi will land today through Ethiopian Airways and head straight to court.
Even so, Thato Dibeela of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) told this publication that they had not heard anything official from the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) except that their quarry may be somewhere nearby. Under normal circumstances, the Botswana office of Interpol would give the DPP factual information regarding a fugitive.
At the time of going to press last night, another of Kgosi ‘s lawyers, Thabiso Tafila said he had been struggling to locate his client but confirmed that Kgosi had left Malaysia. “He was supposed to be here but I have not been able to reach him for the past two days,” Tafila said, adding that he was certain Kgosi would be present in court for his case this morning as arranged.
Appearing with Unoda Mack, Tafila told Regional Magistrate Masilo Mathaka on 5 November that they had received communication from Kgosi that his medical condition had been reviewed and he was ready to come back home. Tafila said they expected their client to be back in Botswana by the end of November.
Since then, Kgosi has been under a 24-hour Interpol surveillance for arrest on sight. But a warrant of arrest has been out on Kgosi since July 14. His lawyers are of the view that there is no need for their client to be arrested since he is handing himself in. They want to negotiate for the warrant of arrest to be lifted because Kgosi has volunteered to come back to attend to his case.
On the other hand, the state has always been sceptical about Kgosi’s purported stay in Malaysia and, according to reliable sources, holds that the fugitive has been holed up in South Africa.
Broadhurst magistrate Tshepo Thedi previously refused to rescind or suspend the warrant issued on the 14 July 2019. “Its immediate reinforcement will go a long way in upholding the rule of law,” she said, insisting that Kgosi must appear before court and show cause why he did not comply with bail conditions.
Meanwhile, nothing concrete came out of a recent meeting between Kgosi ‘s lawyers and the DPP to determine the direction of the case, except the parties agreeing to disagree on accusations levelled against Kgosi. The case is due today for a status hearing with a view to setting the trial date.
Kgosi has been charged with two offences relating to an incident in which he allegedly took pictures of secret agents and shared them with the public. He is also alleged to have obstructed secret agents in the execution of their duties.
At the time he allegedly photographed the agents in question, Kgosi subsequently claimed that they were on a mission to assassinate him. Prosecutors told the court that Kgosi did not abide by his bail conditions as he left the country without reporting to the police.
They argued that it was reasonable to declare Kgosi a wanted fugitive and that he should be brought to court to show cause why his bail conditions cannot be revoked.
This was after the state, through the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, approached the court with an application to have Kgosi arrested after he allegedly violated his bail conditions.
But his lawyers told the court that he was in Malaysia for medical attention. “There was absolutely no need for (the) warrant of arrest because there was nothing preventing Isaac Kgosi to travel to Malaysia at the time and there was no need to vary his bail conditions as he thought he would be back soon,” Tafila said in court.