Former President, Festus Mogae’s credibility has been put on the spotlight.Lawyers acting for the Nchindo family in a case in which Louis Garvas Nchindo, Tourism Development Consortium (PTY) LTD, and Joseph Malope Matome are appealing against their criminal convictions and sentences before the Court of Appeal have questioned Mogae’s evidence before court.
Mogae, once a close friend of the late former Debswana Managing Director gave evidence at one point against Nchindo during trial days of the marathon case.The former president at the time testified that he went to Debswana in December 2000, at the invitation of the late Nchindo, to be briefed on a tourism development project.
Under cross examination Mogae further said that prior to the presentation made to him in 2000, he had talked about the Debswana tourism project with Jacob Nkate who at the time was the minister of Lands and Housing. However, the lawyers representing Garvas Nchindo, TDC and Matome are challenging this piece of evidence.
In the Heads of Argument filed before the Court of Appeal under the sub-topic “Evaluation of Mr Mogae’s evidence” they submit that the evidence about the alleged exchanges with Nkate about Debswana tourism project during 2000 is not “reliable” and appears to have been tendered as an afterthought.
It is significant that Mogae made no reference at all to these alleged exchanges in his carefully worded statement to the DCEC, they note. “It would have been a significant aspect for him to have mentioned in the context of the subject matter of his statement,” reads part of the Heads.
They say further that when the evidence of Mogae was led in chief no reference at all was made to the alleged exchanges. According to the attorneys led by Advocate Craig Webster the first time that the information ever surfaced anywhere was during the defence cross-examination of Mogae. “We make submission, respectfully, that this evidence cannot be relied upon and should be ignored.”
They further note, even if there were interactions between Mogae and Nkate about tourism prior to the December 2000 presentation, “as difficult as it is to believe”, that is moreover irrelevant to Count 1, which involves an allegation that a particular presentation in December 2000 purportedly caused Mogae to support the allocation of Plot 55720 (Setlhoa Village) to TDC.
“And that presentation could plainly not have caused any supposed interactions between Mogae and Nkate earlier in 2000, prior to the presentation.”