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Bakang Seretse wants his millions back

Publishing Date : 16 January, 2018


Justice Godfrey Dijeng has reserved judgement on whether accounts belonging to disgraced businessman, Bakang Seretse and his co-accused should be unfrozen. Seretse is entangled in a multimillion money laundering case along with other who’s who of this country.

The attorneys of the two parties had to fight tooth and nail at the Gaborone High Court last week to convince the judge to allow Seretse access to his personal accounts. The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) was recently granted a restraining order by the High court to freeze several of Seretse’s accounts while awaiting investigations into his landmark money laundering case.

In the landmark case that rocked the country towards the end of last year, Seretse and two other co-accused, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, illegally received over P320 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). The trio was granted bail by the Gaborone Regional Magistrate and will appear in court on January 25, 2018 for mention.

Appearing before Justice Dijeng last week, the respondent’s attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae implored the court to discharge the restraining order against his client, saying that his client should be allowed access to his personal accounts. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on 13 December applied for an ex parte application against Seretse’s properties and credit account balances. Ngakaagae contended that though it was not in dispute that the P69 million belonged to government, the money should not be released to the government, but be kept in the government’s account as the receiver pending the determination of whether the funds are proceeds of crime. “All we want is what we are entitled to, not what government is entitled to,” Ngakaagae argued.

He went on to argue that the key players in the ‘money laundering movie’ were walking free men, saying the law enforcement officials were afraid of them. “The DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi and permanent secretary in the ministry Dr Obakeng who were authorising the transactions have not been charged or accused.”  Ngakaagae further said he had filed as evidence in court, letters of communication which show that the deal was above his clients, Seretse and Kerekang.

“It was a ministerial issue which involved people at the top. My clients were just working on instructions.” Ngakaagae argued that if indeed this was a money laundering scheme, it should then involve the source. If it is a money laundering scheme, why have Kgosi and Dr Obakeng not been charged?” he questioned. “Kgosi has paid P118 million to a company in Israel, and DPP is just running away from this reality.”

According to Ngakaagae, the money was properly released in all the transactions that involved his clients as transactions were made with the best knowledge of the ministry. “If not, then Kerekang and Kgosi have stolen the money as they were the ones authorising the transactions. And they should be put to jail,’’ Ngakaagae submitted.  He said to his surprise, the DCEC had instead of taking Kgosi to task, spoke gloriously of Kgosi and praised him saying allegations levelled against Kgosi by the respondent were uninformed and amounted to gossip. “This is really lack of integrity by the DCEC,” decried Ngakaagae.

On his part, the attorney for DPP, Ernest Mosate urged the court to throw out Ngakaagae’s submissions saying Ngakaagae was misleading the court as to what was supposed to be argued on the preliminary stage. Mosate cited that Ngakaagae’s arguments were immaterial to the case at hand. “The question of whether anyone has been charged with what is immaterial at this stage.  “We should confine ourselves with issues that need to be addressed at this point in time,” he charged.

Mosate further told the court that at the preliminary stage, “prove beyond probability is not applicable. What is required is that that there might be a conviction”. He also stated that in the applicable test for the restraining order it was not applicable for them to talk about charges. It was then that Judge Dijeng asked Mosate what evidence then should the court consider if there were no charges, to which Mosate’s responded the investigating officer had to point out the alleged criminal activity. “The IO will identify the possible legal violations of status, possible offences that arise,” before adding, “And clearly he has done that.”

Mosate stressed that “who wrote to whom, did not matter, as two wrongs do not make a right”. “The point is there has been a violation of the Fund Order,” he said. Mosate told the court that Seretse was also involved in a conflict of interest as he was a managing director of Kgori which dispersed the shares to Khulaco PTY (ltd) which Seretse is also a director in.

The court also heard that Seretse took the P42 million belonging to the DIS and laundered it, and put it in different accounts. “This is money laundering…we need not to go further,’’ submitted Mosate, further praying that Ngakaage be dismissed as he dealt with the matter as if he was dealing with the substantive case.

The court will deliver the judgment on the 12th January.



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