After 13 months of silence, Maswabi mouths off
Before Tuesday, the only previous occasion suspended spy, Welheminah Mphoeng Maswabi had spoken in public was when she pleaded for bail at the start of her trial.
13 months after she was charged with financing terrorism and mercilessly plunged into the media spotlight, the mysterious DIS agent codenamed Butterfly, broke her silence once again.
With the state deciding, at least for now, to drop the most serious charge against her – Maswabi is still charged with possession of unexplained property and false declaration of a passport – this week she briefly found her voice for a second time.
As The Voice urged her for a comment, the 47-year-old only had words for the state prosecutors.
“I will never forgive or forget what you guys did to me! You (state prosecutors) seem to like the cameras don’t you?” said Maswabi, her surprisingly firm voice emanating from beneath her now famous white shroud.
Pushed further, she told The Voice to direct any additional questions to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who had charged her in the first place.
Never short of a word or two, Maswabi’s lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi, likened the state’s action as tantamount to Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The outspoken attorney condemned his client’s high profile arrest only for the charges to be dropped a year later.
Ndadi had a ready response when it was pointed out the state indicated they intend to reinstate the charge at a later stage and only dropped the charge now as they want the other charges to go for trial.
“But that only confirms what we have been saying all along that the state does not have evidence of the frivolous charges against Maswabi. We have always maintained that they could not charge Maswabi whilst the real alleged culprits, Mr Isaac Kgosi and the former President, Ian Khama were not arrested. We know where they are; they are not hiding! Kgosi was just in court this morning,” noted Ndadi speaking on the sidelines of court.
Meanwhile, the case is set to continue on 11 February when trial dates for the remaining two charges will be set.
The state allege, “The accused person, also known as Lorato Hilton, on a date unknown to the prosecutor but between December 1, 2018 and October 17, 2019 in Gaborone whilst employed as a civil servant, to wit, a computer programmer at DIS was in control of pecuniary resources disproportionate to her present or past known sources of income or assets.”
On the other count, false declaration of passport, Maswabi is accused of intent to obtain a passport by making a false statement to an immigration officer to the effect that her names were Lorato Hilton when it was not true.
Butterfly has denied all allegations and has since instituted a counter lawsuit of defamation against the state.
In another twist to the saga, it is also rumoured the state feel Butterfly intimidated Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator in her case, Jako Hubona.
Confirming he was aware of the allegations, a dismissive Ndadi told The Voice, “They said that and I found it to be laughable as my client has not been in contact with Hubona or any of the witnesses in her bail condition.”