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UNIMPRESSED: Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi

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Butterfly court drama approaches the end

DIS spy rejects state request to withdraw corruption charges

Launched on October 17th, 2019, a high profile corruption case that intrigued and captivated the nation for about three years is nearing the end.

People watched with great interest and anticipation as The Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) spy, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi was dragged to court to answer for three charges of financing terrorism, possession of unexplained property, and false declaration of passports.

The 48 – year- old Maswabi, codename Butterfly’s arrest and suspenseful and dramatic appearances at the Broadhurst Magistrate court under a white veil kept the nation talking and guessing.

However on Tuesday, the court drama came to an abrupt halt as the state applied to drop all charges against Butterfly.

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Almost as if it was something she expected, Maswabi did not show any sign of emotion when the announcement was made.

Instead through her lawyer Unoda Mack, she refused to allow the court to grant the state the application to withdraw her charges.

“We are opposing the application to withdraw the matter in their terms. There is a matter before the High Court where the accused (Butterfly) is seeking for these charges to be quashed so she is acquitted. The state filed a notice of opposition,” Mack told the court.

Butterfly’s lawyer further told the court that they will not agree to the terms of the state to withdraw the charges with the option to reinstate.

“The problem is with liberty to reinstate; that is where the problem is. If it was with prejudice that will be a different ball game. If the state wants to withdraw charges they should withdraw the charge completely.”

Meanwhile the state through advocate Gerrie Nel argued that they were dropping charges only because they had encountered difficulty in completing missing puzzles of the case.

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“The DPP has appointed an independent team to investigate this matter and to brief them on the prosecution. There is evidence outstanding in South Africa and in Botswana but there is difficulty with evidence that is kept at other law enforcement agencies,” said Nel

The South African advocate further told the court that withdrawing the matter meant Butterfly would not suffer prejudice of having to come to court.

“She can file a malicious prosecution tomorrow if she wants, at whatever court but today the DPP is withdrawing the matter.”

The ruling on the government’s application to withdraw charges against Butterfly has been set for the 14th of September.

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