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Bakang fights for his properties DCEC, Hawks go after him

SHARE   |   Thursday, 07 February 2019   |   By Ricardo Kanono
Bakang fights for his properties DCEC, Hawks go after him

Set to take over his South African properties

The Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions are said to have cast their net wide in order to close in on former Managing Director of Basis Point Bakang Seretse.

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The crime busting agency is said to have gathered enough information through the help of their counterparts in South Africa which allegedly shows that Seretse has residential properties there.

The DCEC, in collaboration with South African anti-corruption unit, Hawks, is said to be on the final stages of placing the alleged four residential properties under judicial restraint as they are suspected to be proceeds of crime.

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The Hawks are South African’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) designed to target organised crime, economic crime and corruption.

The properties allegedly include two residential properties – one in Pretoria while the other one in Sandton, South Africa. Other two properties are said to be in Cape Town. The properties are said to be valued at around R10 million and are both leased out.

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The Hawks are expected to serve Seretse with court papers to seize the properties which will force him to dig deeper into his pockets to look for an attorney in South Africa.

This is due to the fact that Botswana trained lawyers are not allowed to practice in South Africa unless they study in the country’s law schools and this will bar local lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae from representing him.

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After Seretse allegedly denied that he had a residential property in Pretoria, the DCEC with the help of Hawks, is said to have gotten hold of some information from the personal computer of the late Vusi Mhlanzi, who was Seretse’s business partner. Mhlanzi was shot and killed in what is suspected to be a hit three years ago.

Email communications between Seretse and the late Mhlanzi, which the Hawks are in possession of, is said to have helped the DCEC in their investigations.

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Information retrieved from the personal computer of Mhlanzi is said to shown that there was a suspected account with Basis Point’s name which was used to acquire properties without the knowledge of the Managing Director.

In July 2016 Mhlanzi, who was the Managing Director of Basis Points, discovered that there was an account opened using the company’s name. The company was used to buy properties as it was verified by a call to Mhlanzi by Basis Point’s Financial Director Hope Tawengwa.

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Tawengwa had sent an email to Mhlanzi informing him that a property company had called her to verify a cheque payment made to the suspected Basis Point Account. After failing to get clear answers, emails show that Mhlanzi engaged his partner Seretse about how the unauthorised account was opened.

Seretse responded in a lengthy email, claiming that there appeared to be a misunderstanding about shelf companies.

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On Tuesday August 23 Mhlanzi, who was mostly based in South Africa, received another notification to verify a cheque payment from the suspected account from another property company.

In unusual way on August 27 when everyone was enjoying their weekend, furious Mhlanzi wrote a strongly worded email to Tawengwa asking her to investigate about the account and engage auditors and relevant authorities as he suspected that it might be used for money laundering.

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Two days later – on August 29 – Tawengwa responded to the email pleading with her boss that the matter should be handled internally.

“I met Bakang [Seretse] on Friday to discuss the issue. We agreed he will call you and set a time to come and see you. I request that you meet as directors before I can take the route you have requested,” said Tawengwa.

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According to the information allegedly retrieved from the personal laptop of Mhlanzi, the following day on the 30th of August while he was expecting response from his business partner, Seretse regarding the suspected account, nothing came through.

Later on the same day an amount of R2 million was deposited into his FNB account from the suspected account.

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Some information retrieved from the slain businessman mobile phone reveal that he called the office in Botswana and informed them that he will be coming to the country to investigate the suspected account and why R 2million was deposited into his account.

On August 31st in the afternoon, Mhlanzi’s Mercedes-Benz was peppered with bullets leading to his death on his way home.

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In an interview with The Voice newspaper, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi has confirmed that they have mutual legal assistance agreement with South African authorities that will keep the properties in that country under judicial restraint.

Meanwhile on Friday morning, Seretse pleaded with the Court of Appeal’s (CoA) to rule against a Court Order that led to the seizing of his properties including houses and various lavish cars worth millions of Pula.

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Ngakaagae called for the release of his client’s properties as the restraining order ‘definitively dispossesses’ him of such properties.

Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Attorney Ernest Mosate argued that the restraining order was intended to have a preservative effect and that it (restraining order) falls off after some time as it is not a final order.

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Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, who is presiding over the matter, has reserved judgement for the 15th February 2019.



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