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DCEC refuses to return Bakang’s assets

Publishing Date : 22 October, 2018

Author : TEBOGO KGALEMANG

Lobatse High Court Judge, Jennifer Dube will next week Friday deliver a ruling in the P250m National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case where the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has applied for a stay of execution following an order that they return Bakang Seretse and Kenneth Kerekang’s assets.


Judge Dube had two months ago delivered a ruling in favour of Bakang and Kerekang, ordering the DCEC to release into their custody all the assets seized during the period December 2017 to date. DCEC had a day later approached a different judge in the absence of other parties asking for a stay of execution pending final arguments, and were granted the ruling.


When the parties appeared for arguments on the stay of execution on Thursday, State Chief Counsel, Julia Mokoti argued that, “the vehicles in question were crucial for the criminal proceedings. It will be very prejudicial in terms of investigation if at the end of the case it appears the money in question was used to buy the vehicles.” She added that they needed the said assets to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.


On his part, Ngakaagae argued that DCEC has defied the court order, with the result that after the lapse of a day following the order, they were in contempt of the same order. “Being in contempt, and having been so notified, DCEC approached approached the High Court by night, in our absence for a stay of execution,” he told the court. He implored the court to release the vehicles to his clients as per the previous order. He told the court that his clients would not temper with the said vehicles as ordered by the court.


 “My client is a lawful owner of these vehicles. And they are law abiding citizens,” said Ngakaagae. Ngakaagae also argued that the DCEC would not suffer any prejudice should the assets be released to their owners. “It is all about egos…DCEC egos, nothing else…they are just saying we will never get what we want,” said Ngakaagae.


In the main case, Bakang, Kerekang and Botho Leburu are alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, received over P320 million which was unlawfully taken from the NPF. The background of the case is that the then Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae who has since joined the High Court as a judge, had last year December directed the DCEC to get a court order to regularise their seizure of Bakang and Kerekang’s property. The property was as such seized without serving the two applicants with court papers as required by the law.


It was after this seizure that the two applicants’ attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae approached the high court seeking justice for his clients. On his application, Ngakaagae sought a relief ordering the magistrate to furnish the Registrar of the high court with all pleadings as were filed by the DCEC for obtaining the search and seizure warrant; the DCEC to appear before court to show cause, if any, why the court should not make final that their search and seizure warrant be set aside.


In her ruling, Justice Dube suspended the warrant of seizure issued by the magistrate pending the final determination of the issues surrounding the validation of same by the magistrate. She however ordered Bakang and Kerekang that, “During the suspension of the warrant of seizure, the said assets are not to be sold to anyone or pass ownership in any shape or form; or to be used in such manner as to accelerate the depreciation of their value or to leave the country.”


She also gave the clerk of Broadhurst magistrate where the seizure order was granted seven days to furnish Ngakaagae with all pleadings as were filed and upon which reliance was placed by the DCEC for obtaining the search and seizure warrant. The judge went on to note that it was in the interest of justice that she leans in favour of the applicants. “The object of the court is to do justice between the parties in order to promote the proper ventilation of the dispute between them the subject of a decision. This however, must not cause prejudice to the other side,” she noted.

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