- DPP suggests Masisi and Khama are not criminally liable
- Says at any rate, the President is immune to prosecution
- DPP confirms that Kgosi will be charged
- Khama listed as a state witness
LETLHOGILE MPUANG & TEFO PHEAGE
The state has not found sufficient evidence to press charges against President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his nemesis former president Ian Khama in relation to the looting of more than P250 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF), the Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Tiroyakgosi, has said.
Infact, Tiroyakgosi says, there is no investigation pointing in the direction of the archenemies who might have been joined as co-defendants because there is no evidence that they were aware that the money they received was proceeds of crime.
However, as the biggest dramatis personae leave stage, in comes another protagonist who commands as much intrigue the two not least for his reputation as having been strongman Khama’s enforcer in the latter’s presidency. The biggest revelation by the DPP head is that “the former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi, will be charged soon”.
Tiroyakgosi told this publication in an interview yesterday (Monday) that at this point, chances of slapping either Masisi or Khama with corruption charges were close to nil despite the two being among key beneficiaries in the NPF case.
“The challenge is that the beneficiaries were not aware or did not know if the funds they received were proceeds of crime,” he said. “We have not been able to charge them in the same way that we have not been able to charge Sadique’s mother (Jeanette Mooketsi) and one of Bakang Seretse’s uncles who is one of the chiefs in Serowe.”
Curiously, the state last year seized a Mercedes-Benz belonging to Sadique’s mother, Jeanette Mooketsi, which was allegedly bought with the NPF funds.
Tiroyakgosi noted that in Masisi’s case, the fact that the funds were received through Briscoe Attorneys created complications in the matter. “One other thing you need to be aware of is that the President is also protected by the immunity clause in the constitution,” he explained. “Even if we were to charge him now, we would have to wait until the end of his term as president to have him in court.”
Court papers filed by the state in June 2019 revealed that President Masisi received donations of over P2 million from Briscoe Attorneys. The state added that Seretse sunsequently made a donation of P300,010 to Masisi through the same law firm. The money was to aid his bid for the chairmanship of the Botswana Democratic Party at an elective congress in Tonota.
Because of this, Sadique Kebonang, who is charged alongside his judge brother Zein, says the state must charge other principal recipients of NPF funds, Masisi being one of them.
Former president Ian Khama is also said to have received P250,000 from Bakang Seretse of Khulaco Management Services on 3 October 2017 to procure materials for refurbishment of his retirement home. Khama has been listed as a witness in the case.