At the present time, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has no plans to request the South African government to extradite former president Ian Khama following 13 counts of illegal possession of firearms being levelled against him recently, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Khama’s co-accused – suspended Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgope, former chief spy Isaac Kgosi and former deputy police commissioner Bruno Paledi – appeared for mention at Broadhurst Magistrates Court last week.
The head of DPP, Stephen Tiroyakgosi, told The Botswana Gazette that it is still early to make any submissions before the South African government for help in extraditing Khama to appear before court on 6 June this year.
“At this point it is early to make any commitments on that because the case is in June,” Tiroyakgosi said. “We will wait for the case to resume and take it from there.”
Tiroyakgosi would not be drawn on whether Khama has been served with court papers after it emerged during the first court session that he had not been served. Magistrate Masilo Mathaka postponed the case after a request by the lawyers acting for the accused parties.
The lawyers representing the accused, among them Unoda Mack, Kgosietsile Ngakaayagae and Victor Ramalepa, urged the court to postpone the case because the accused were served with an amended charge sheet only that morning and had had no opportunity to study and prepare their responses.
Khama has on many occasions rubbished charges laid against him as a witch-hunt.
Meanwhile, it is said extradition of Khama was not on the agenda at a meeting of the Botswana-South Africa Bi-national Commission between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Thursday last week.
However, Ramaphosa was quoted in the South African media saying Masisi had informed him that charges had been preferred against Khama. “Our relationship between Botswana and SA is so warm, good and so positive that we will be able to deal with any challenge that comes our way,” said Ramaphosa.
He dismissed perceptions that South Africa is harbouring a fugitive after Khama failed to show up in court, stating that he was on a visit. This has fuelled speculation that efforts to have Khama extradited may not succeed because of his relationship with powerful and influential businesspeople close to Ramaphosa
The former president has been in South Africa since November 2021.