Judge Kebonang conflicted in the Isaac Kgosi matter-BURS
The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) Acting Commissioner General, Segolo Lekau has made startling allegations against Judge Zaine Kebonang, saying he is ‘biased ’ towards former spy boss Isaac Kgosi and ‘conflicted’ in the ongoing controversial ‘airport arrest case.’
Kgosi was arrested at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport back in January 15, 2019, – an arrest that was widely publicized in local media . Whilst it was speculated that the arrest and the subsequent search at his house was in connection with an alleged P 10 million tax evasion, to date the former spy chief has yet to be charged.
Kgosi has since dragged Government to court over his arrest, labelling the arrest, ‘illegal and malicious” and won.
The present urgent application by the state comes after justice Kebonang barred any submissions from BURS and subsequently awarded costs up to P 50 million, which will be assessed at the next court date.
In a fresh affidavit submitted for the urgent application, BURS states reasons as to why they feel the judge maybe conflicted and biased towards the former spy chief. BURS say although they do not question the judge’s capability or experience they are of the view that the judge maybe hostile or even has an interest in the case.
“The genuine complaint of the applicant (BURS) is that His Lordship Dr. Kebonang J has a substantial interest in this matter on not only the following bases but also taking them into their totality,” the acting commissioner general’s affidavit reads in parts.
BURS further states that the judge’s bother-Sadique Kebonang-has an intimate and business relationship with Kgosi which creates an impression of favoritism to Kgosi.
BURS further argues that the judge was also co-accused with Kgosi in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case.
“This creates an impression of the possibility of impartiality on the part of his Lordship Dr. Kebonang J in favor of the 1st respondent. It may be perceived to the reasonable person that his Lordship Dr. Kebonang J, has with respect, an indirect interest in the outcome of this matter. This is that the judgment of about P 50 million maybe favorable to the economic relationship between the 1st respondent and Sadique Kebonang , His lordship Dr. Kebonang J’s immediate twin brother. This with respect would warrant recusal of the matter,” BURS state in their urgent application.
Laying their grounds of appeal against the 50 million judgment BURS further argues that the judge failed to use his discretion to grant BURS an extension of time for compliance having regard for the reasons given.
They also believe the judge erred in directing the assessment of damages to the P50 million whilst the main case which has eight other defendants sued jointly and severally – is still ongoing.
The case continues