Lobatse High Court judge, Gaolape Ketlogetswe on Wednesday ruled in businessman, Bakang Seretse’s favour in the ongoing P250 million National Petroleum Fund Scandal.
Ketlogetswe ordered the state to pay back Seretse over P82 million within 24 hours, after he described the DPP’s actions as illegal.
“The conclusion I have come to is that the continued detention of the applicant’s properties after the expiry of 28 days, and before the application for civil forfeiture and civil penalty orders was filed by the second respondent (DPP) was and continues to be an act of illegality, ” reads the judgment in part.
Casting doubt on the DPP head, Stephen Tiroyakgosi the judge stated that” In my judgement, the second respondent has only himself to blame for having erroneously thought he can fail to follow a court order and still hope to reap benefits. Even if the second respondent may believe that the applicants are wrongdoers, the law dictates that even a wrongdoer must be dealt with in accordance with justice and to the law.”
Seretse through his companies Khulaco (PTY) Ltd, M&B Properties and Leomog Investments had approached the court on a matter of urgency for the state to return the properties which they said the state had unlawfully retained.
The case was however only limited to cash amounts seized by the state.
Seretse through his lawyer, Kgosietsile Ngaakagae, argued that his livelihood had been affected by the retention of the money by the state.
He argued that his business was now close to liquidation as they had been unable to pay their debts.
Seretse and his company assets were seized and restrained by the DPP as per an order dated December 13, 2017, and finally confirmed on January 12 2018.
However, according to the judge who agreed with Seretse, the order was only valid for 28 days.
“Any suggestion that the 28 days requirement was extended presented a difficulty of interpretation,” reads this week’s judgment which comes hot on the heels of another devastating blow in the NPF case delivered by a three men bench of judges in Gaborone last week when they cleared former Minister of Trade Sadique Kebonang and his brother, Judge Zaine Kebonang of any corruption in the NPF scandal.
The NPF Scandal has fingered other big names including the former DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi who has also applied for his charges to be dropped.