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State closes its case in Morupisi trial

Kentse Setaboshane, the Investigating Officer in the corruption trial against former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, told the court at the close of the state’s case that investigations revealed that Morupisi only tried to pay for the vehicle after realizing there was an investigation against him.

Appearing before High Court Judge, Mokwadi Chris Gabanagae, Setaboshane relayed his case as to how he charged Morupisi and his wife Pinnie Morupisi with three charges.

“It appears from our investigations that it was only after Bakang Seretse wrote a letter to BPOPF complaining that Morupisi has a beneficial relationship with CMB, that he started to make payment to Mano Squad,” Setaboshane told the court.

At the heart of the disgraced PSP’s criminal case is a Toyota Landcruiser which the state maintains, was bought as a gift for Morupisi by CMB directors as a way of “thanking him for awarding the BPOPF tender even though he knew that the business of the BPOPF board which he chaired, was suspended as per a High Court order.”

Setaboshane, the state’s last and most critical witness, painted a picture in court of how the CMB directors opened a business in South Arica called Mano Squad.

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The said company at the time had an opening balance of R 750 until an amount of 33.5 million of the BPOPF money was transferred into their account for the purposes of investment.

According to the IO, some of the money was instead used to buy the property and the said Landcruiser.

The IO further told the court that it was CMB Director, Rapula Okaile, who drove the car from South Africa into Botswana and changed registration into the names of a company called R7 group PTY LTD, which is wholly owned by Morupisi’s wife.

“The reason why a charge was laid against Carter’s wife, was because she was aware that at the time of acquisition of this motor vehicle, they did not have the funds to purchase the said car. But they received the car and registered it in the names of R7 Pty Ltd,” the IO said.

Setaboshane further explained to the court that it did not make sense for a company (R7 Group) that had only P 4 500 in its bank account at the time, to buy a car which cost P R630 988. 99.

The court further heard that it was only after a complaint was made that Morupisi started paying Mano Squad for the vehicle.

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“During investigations it was clear to me that the reason why the car was not registered under Morupisi, who was paying Mano squad, was because he was aware he was the Board chair of BPOPF,” the IO testified.

According to Setaboshane, Morupisi in his personal capacity paid P 211 000 to Mano squad.

Asked if Morupisi was aware of a criminal investigation against him at the time, the IO answered in the affirmative.

“Upon further perusal of his bank statement I noticed that funds going into the bank account belonging to Morupisi were from outside Botswana. I have since asked that the bank furnish me with the source of the funds. I am still waiting for that information,” the IO further told the court.

Asked further why the vehicle was not in Morupisi’s name the IO said “I believe it was meant to conceal the origin of the motor vehicle. Because if it was registered in the names of the person paying for the motor vehicle, who is also a Board chairperson of BPOPF it would seem amiss,” the IO explained.

The cross-examination led by defence attorney, Busang Manewe, continues. Manewe has described the IO as “a controversial witness.”

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Morupisi faces three charges of corruption and money laundering.

@sharonmathala
sharonm@thevoicebw.com

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