Court throws out bogus P250 million NPF charges
The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has suffered yet another embarrassment after Extension (ii) Magistrate Kamogelo Mmesi threw out yet another prominent criminal case and freed all accused persons in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case.
Giving out her ruling this week Mmesi referred to the charges as bogus. “I am inclined to side with the defense that the charges are defective. Some of the charges are speculative, as they don’t mention which accused person fitted where, “said Mmesi.
The NPF case had a total of 14 accused persons including amongst others Businessman Bakang Seretse, Former head of DISS, Isaac Kgosi, former Minister Sadique Kebonang, High Court Judge Zein Kebonang, Kenneth Kerekang, Kago Stimela, Mogomotsi Seretse, Thato Bojelo and their companies.
Between the accused persons there were about 66 charges including amongst others money laundering and corruption.
Further punching holes in the state’s case, which began a little over three years ago with the dramatic arrest of Bakang Seretse, the chief Magistrate said, “The charges are ambiguous. The court can’t make sense of them and if it is difficult for the court to make sense of them now how will the accused persons prepare their defence once there are committed to the high court?”
Mmesi’s ruling joins other High Court rulings in the same matter, which discharged other accused persons.
“The charges are vague and contradictory. They lack criminality,” are some of the comments made by the Magistrate this week.
Taking a jab at the current administration, one of the leading defence lawyers in the matter, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae told journalists that the charges were politically motivated.
“My clients were seen as people around the past regime and whom the former regime committed acts of crimes with. They are the victims here. The DCEC machinery and the DPP are now being used to achieve political needs through prosecution,” Ngakaagae said.
Further asked if his client has intentions to sue, the prominent lawyer did not dismiss the possibility.
The state has been given 30 days to appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile next week Tuesday the Lobatse High Court is expected to make a ruling in the contempt of court application made by Seretse after the state failed to pay him back his P82 million.