Botswana Vs South Africa
•BW government blames SA for delays in “Butterfly case”
* Requests of such nature take time- SA
A high profile court case implicating former president, Ian Khama in money laundering is threatening to cause a diplomatic row between the Botswana Government and South Africa.
The allegations against Khama surfaced in an affidavit filed against suspended DIS spy, Welheminah Maswabi code name Butterfly who has appeared in court several times to answer for charges of money laundering and sponsoring terrorism.
Court documents in the Maswabi case have further alleged that Khama, with the assistance of former security services (DIS) boss, Isaac Kgosi had siphoned over $10-billion (100 billion Pula) from the central bank to secret accounts in SA and later to offshore companies and banks.
Khama has vehemently denied the allegations and threatened to sue government for defamation of character.
Last week the Botswana government blamed the South African government, for causing a delay in the Maswabi case by its reluctance to offer mutual legal assistance.
In what appears to be a desperate move to expedite the case, Botswana government through the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) engaged AfriForum, a racist, right wing organization to assist with investigations.
In a statement announcing Afriforum’s appointment by the Botswana government, Advocate Gerrie Nel said,
“The fact that DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Cooperation) failed to give any feedback to the DPP of Botswana over nine months indicates that the South African government is unwilling to assist our client with their request. We will intervene and ensure that our client receives the necessary cooperation from the South African government to ensure that justice prevails.”
Echoing Advocate Nel’s sentiments, the Director of Public Prosecution, Stephen Tiroyakgosi also stated that there might have been reluctance from the South African Government to assist Botswana in the investigations.
“We were left with no choice but to engage the investigating unit and engage the services of Advocate Gerrie Nel. South African Government was dragging its feet in giving us feedback. We had long sent the request for legal assistance but we have not received any feedback to date,” Tiroyakgosi said in an interview.
However,the Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson in SA, Clayson Monyela confirmed they had received the request for mutual legal assistance from Botswana but denied dragging their feet on the matter.
“We received their request on September 17th, 2019 and by the 25th we had responded back to them and they had acknowledged receipt. We forwarded their request to the South African Department of Justice and that where we end. We did our part,” Monyela said as he referred this reporter to the Department of Justice.
The Voice can however reveal that, the Botswana Government had asked the South African Government to keep the investigation a top secret.
“The Republic of Botswana requests South Africa to use its best efforts and availability of its domestic laws to keep this request confidential. If the request cannot be executed without breaching such confidentiality we request the central authority of the Republic of Botswana to be notified, which shall then determine whether the request should nevertheless be executed,” reads a paragraph in a confidential document seen by The Voice.
The document also indicated that the Botswana government was investigating high profile names ( known to this publication) in a case where P 2,200,896,200. 35 was misappropriated from Bank of Botswana and laundered.
The government also claimed that in February 2019, there was a total of USD 48,000,000.00 that was transferred to an account in South Africa.
“It is alleged that on the 15th of February 2019 Mr. Leonardo’s Khrisna transferred an amount of USD 48,000,000 from account number XXXX held in Mahkota bank to a bank in the Republic of South Africa to account number xxxxx Standard bank, Alberton branch, which was created on 24 November 2015.”
Meanwhile the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development spokesperson Chrispin Phiri has denied that there has been a delay.
“Generally requests of such nature take time. What I can confirm is that yes we are seized with the matter and we are still working on it. As soon as we are done with investigations we will respond accordingly through proper channels.”
Phiri couldn’t comment any further to questions saying the issue was now bordering on diplomatic relations.
Meanwhile, Butterfly appears in court next week when judgment of the cost of her bail application is to be made.