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‘DROP THE CHARGES’

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DEFIANT: Defence lawyers in the NPF money laundering case want charges against their clients dropped

National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering case accused persons on Monday called on Regional Magistrate Court in Gaborone to quash their charges.

The accused persons are Bakang Seretse, Kenneth Kerekang, Khulaco (Pty) ltd, Basis Point (both companies represented by Bakang as Director), M & B Properties Pty ltd ( represented by Bakang Seretse as Director), Member of Parliament for Lobatse and former Energy Minister Sadique Kebonang, Raging Bull Pty ltd- (represented by Sadique Kebonang as Director), High Court Judge Zein Kebonang, Mogomotsi Seretse, Leomog Pty ltd- (represented by Mogomotsi Seretse as Director), Kago Stimela and STM Holdings Pty ltd- (represented by Kago Stimela as Director). There are 65 counts in the charge sheet most of which are for money laundering.

Attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae representing most of the accused persons told the court that the only remedy for his clients is to have the indictment quashed. He said the prosecution has failed to avail to the defence further documents that they would like to use in the case.

Ngakaagae told the court that the request for further particulars of the case is to help them to prepare for their plea. “We want to advise ourselves properly on how to plead to the charges. This has got nothing to do with how the charges were crafted. It is not about fixing the charge sheet. The consideration that the court has to make is whether my clients can have a fair trial without such particularities,” said Ngakaagae arguing that they have been unduly denied the documents.

He told the court that the response they got from the state is that the documents are part of evidence. Ngakaagae said should the court not agree with them to quash the indictment then the court is at liberty to decide what order to make. He pointed out that the prosecution should drop the charges and put its house in order to later reinstate the charges if they are willing.

Unoda Mack who is also part of the defence stated that the documents that the prosecution is refusing to avail were availed for the forfeiture application and the restraining application both before the High Court. He wondered if the charges should hold water since the prosecution cannot avail the documents they are requesting.

Senior Counsel Wessen Manchwe representing the prosecution opposed the dropping of the charges. He said Ngakaagae could have made an application to the court requesting that the prosecution be compelled to avail the documents.

“What they are arguing about right now is that the responses we gave them are not adequate. Trial for this case would not be in this court so they can make that application at the trial court which is the High Court. This matter is wrongly before this court and the remedy requested is a wrong one,” Machwe said. The court will deliver its ruling on March 22nd 2019.

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