DPP, DCEC clash over ‘Butterfly’ case

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Friday, 12 March 2021
otherwise known as “Butterfly” case. otherwise known as “Butterfly” case.

The clash between the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seems to be further compromising the prosecution in the State versus Welheminah Maswabi otherwise known as “Butterfly” case.

DCEC is said to have told both DPP and DIS that they cannot interview Former Director of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Mabuse Pule over the issuance of passports to Maswabi as it is not part of their mandate. Pule is currently the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Member of Parliament for Mochudi East. The false passports are alleged to have been used to open offshore accounts and the prosecution is basing their case on the evidence of Pule. Maswabi is charged on two counts of possession of unexplained property, and false declaration of passport.

The DCEC is said to have maintained their stance at a meeting which was attended by DPP and DIS officials where they were represented by Joao Salbany and Keene Dick that it is the mandate of the police to investigate the false declaration of passports and interview Pule. They allegedly told DPP and DIS officials that they cannot be dictated to by any person how they should conduct their investigations and cannot circumvent their processes thus breaking the law in order to satisfy some people.

The false passports are said to be critical in the case of money laundering against Maswabi and the investigations into the P5.6 billion which is said to have been syphoned from government coffers. A Savingram referenced DPP1/2/30(C) I 22), STATE VS WILHEMINAH MPHOENG MASWABI-CMRRS 00006-19 (DCEC Assessment Docket N0. 508/2019) from Director of DPP Advocate Stephen Tiroyakgosi stated that DCEC was mandated to carry out investigations surrounding the creation of the passports. “It is important to have a statement from the former Director of Immigration to establish the role he played in enabling the issuing of this passport,” reads the Savingram. One of the passports that were allegedly used to open accounts and companies is said to be under the name Lorato Hilton which DPP said should be investigated.

“It is alleged that the same name Lorato Hilton was used to open a local company named Local Matter (PTY) LTD which is suspected to have been used for laundering purposes. We request that an investigation be carried surrounding that fact. It will support the evidence whether or not the passport was used for covert purposes,” said Advocate Tiroyakgosi. DPP has also raised concern over the DCEC failure to take witnesses’ statements on investigations surrounding the offence of possession of unexplained property by Maswabi. “Take note that the file we received from you does not include witnesses’ statements to speak to the documents, may those be obtained,” noted Tiroyakgosi in the Savingram dated 18th January 2021.

He added that there are witnesses who testify that they were instructed to override the system in order to be able to make the passport in the names of Lorato Hilton. “It is alleged that the passport was not handed over to the current Director General-DIS at the time when he was taking over the office. We need to establish the status on the where abouts of the passport and whether covert passports are a norm within the DIS. In the event that it is a norm, establish the rules and procedure that regulates it”. Documents seen by this publication indicate that there is an allegation that Maswabi owns and or controls the following property; Plot No. 11388 Tawana Gaborone; Plot No. 71077 North Park, Phakalane; Plot No. 2948 Extension 10 Gaborone; Plot No. 2401 Metsimotlhabe (sold to Bonnake); Plot No. 182 Mogoditshane; Plot in Artesia; Plot in Nkoyaphiri (leased to David Mathumo); Plot No. 70793 subdivision (to establish ownership); Plot No. 60407 Block 7 Gaborone; Toyota Fortuner B 313 AWD; Toyota Fortuner B 637 AOR; Nissan Navara B 279 AOH; Toyota Fortuner B 923 ANH; BMW B967 BBX.

According to the DPP Director it has currently been established that the accused person’s known source of income has always been her salary from her employment at DIS. It is therefore imperative to establish whether indeed she owns or controls the above listed property because if it is established that she does then it would be incumbent upon (her) to demonstrate how she could afford such properties given her known source of income”. DCEC Spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said they are not privy to allegations that the Directorate has refused to interview Pule over the issuance of passport to Maswabi.

“In any case your enquiry seems to relate to the false declaration of passport which is an offence under Penal Code and not within the mandate of the DCEC, therefore the said allegations if any is not true,” he said. DCEC rebutted allegations that they are dragging their feet in interviewing witnesses in the Butterfly case. Motshoganetsi confirmed investigations into the P5.6 billion allegedly laundered from the government coffers. “We can however confirm that the DCEC is in receipt of an allegation effecting that P5.6 billion has been syphoned out of government coffers, a matter which is currently receiving the DCEC’s due attention. Whether this relates to any particular person or offence is a matter to be determined by the investigations,” Motshoganetsi said.

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