The war between Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and money laundering accused persons Bakang Seretse and others rages on and reached another level this week.
It was revealed this week Thursday that DCEC has impounded the accused persons’ motor vehicles, cellphones, laptops and confidential documents and failed to declare such seizure before a judicial officer.
Seretse, his company Khulaco Pty ltd, Botho Felicia Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang are each facing a single count of money laundering contrary to Section 47 (1) (b) of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act. The charge sheet was amended yesterday (Thursday) to include Khulaco in it.
The accused persons’ lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae revealed that the DCEC continues to harass and abuse his clients. “The DCEC forfeited my clients’ motor vehicles without warrant. It is incumbent on the prosecution to have brought the properties before a Judicial Officer precisely this honourable court to validate everything they have seized from my clients.
“This is in violation of the accused persons’ rights to property according to the constitution. We are making an application that the properties be restored and the DCEC should come before this court and justify their act. These properties are not part of those in the case before the High Court,” argued Ngakaagae.
He also stated that the DCEC has ransacked his clients’ offices and seized laptops, cellphones and confidential documents rendering their business moribund. “We want the DCEC to return the properties and make copies of all documents they seized and avail them to the accused because what is contained there, the accused knows everything and there is no how the DCEC could say their case would be prejudiced”.
Ambrose Mubikwa of Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) said he is hearing the matter for the first time and is not something to be tolerated. On another matter, Ngakaagae said he would soon make an application for the review of the decision of the DCEC to charge only his clients in the matter.
“My clients are not supposed to be there. We would at a later stage call for the review of the DCEC decision. We want deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Dr Obolokile Obakeng, Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Isaac Kgosi and other senior government officials to be in the dock- they have to be charged. We do not want selective justice.”
However, Mubikwa objected saying it was premature for his colleague to make such a statement. Ngakaagae condemned the prosecution and DCEC for taking long to have his clients plead to the charge. He told the court that the prosecution and the DCEC know their case, have evidence and they chose the charge his clients are facing.
He was worried that the prosecution still wants plea not taken. “We insist that in the next mention plea should be taken because they say they have a case. If plea is not taken at next mention they would have to withdraw the case without prejudice because they are not ready,” he pointed out.
In his defence Mubikwa said the current case is very complex and difficult. He said investigations are progressing well and given the complexity, “we might have to go beyond borders”. They will appear again in court on the 9th of March of this year.
According to the charge sheet the four are said to have between September 5th 2017 and November 27th 2017 acting jointly with common purpose received, possessed, disguised and disposed of P250 million knowing or suspecting or having reasonable grounds to know or suspect that the money was derived or realised in whole or in part directly or indirectly from commission of confiscation offence, to wit, theft.