Broadhurst Regional Chief Magistrate, Masilo Mathaka, on Friday ruled that the accused persons in the P250 million money laundering scandal be committed to the High Court for trial.
Magistrate Mathaka ordered that he will not be taking any requests for further applications, turning down the state’s request for amending the existing charge sheet before committing the matter to the High court. Bakang Seretse, former Kgori Capital director, is accused alongside former cabinet minister who is also Lobatse MP Sadique Kebonang, Kenneth Kerekang, High Court Judge Dr Zein Kebonang, Kago Setimela and Mogomotsi Seretse. The case will resume on the 21st of August with Magistrate Mathaka will be committing the matter to high court for trial.
The State Prosecutor, Wessel Manchwe, told court that the amendment of the charges will add three new people on what would be then the 5th amended charge sheet. He indicated that the new additions comprised of two senior officials of a certain local company together with a certain individual who is a legal professional, declining to reveal the names. “We intend to substitute the charge sheet and add three more people who will form part of the accused before the high court. Therefore we propose that the matter be adjourned to a later date so that we amend the charge sheet,” pleaded Mantswe before the Magistrate rejected the application.
Manchwe further argued that if the charge sheet is not amended, this will result in the public interest nature of the matter being not fully served by the time of the trial.
Magistrate Mathaka said the matter will proceed for trial before the high court with 65 counts charge sheet that he is currently before court. He also made a ruling against the defense attorney’, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae who had made submissions that the charges be dropped against his clients due to lack of enough evidence.
Advancing his reasons on the ruling, Mathaka said the matter is of the interest to the public and therefore needs to be granted the seriousness it deserves. “We have been moving in a snail pace because of the state’s charge sheet drama. I'm not the only one who is disappointed, even the society will be disappointed hearing that now we have to amend the charge sheet again as it has turned to be unending song by state prosecutors, “Magistrate Masilo Mathaka said.
Ngakaagae appeals ruling
The defense team led by Kgosietsile Ngakaagae has submitted before the court that they will appeal the ruling by Magistrate Mathaka for not heeding to the request of quashing the charges. He noted that the court seems to be reconciling with the abuse of his clients by the state arguing that the state abuses his clients’s impunity that the constitution guarantees them.
Furthermore, he expressed dissatisfactions over the court ruling saying that the state prosecution team still defied the court order by failing to furnish further particulars.
“Your worship will appeal before the high court your ruling in this matter. The way I see the loop holes, we are still far from leaving this court to high court for trial hence we will seek protection for our clients. I do not doubt this court ruling but we will appeal,” he objected.
Ngakaagae also revealed that the prosecution team has submitted to them evidence files which sums up to 3 500 pages all combined with names of some witnesses raising eyebrows. He said the evidence by the prosecution team is not concrete adding that the case from start has been based on baseless accusations against the people he is representing, and so calling on the state to drop the case.
Ngakaagae further said the NPF money laundering case belongs to senior government officials not to his clients indicating that they are just being used as scape goats at the moment. “The state knows exactly who are the NPF money choppers and they just playing games with my clients. Those NPF money grinders are roaming freely in the expense of Bakang Seretse and his company, but the true criminals will soon be known too,” he added.
Mantswe on the other hand said with all the evidence they have gathered, nothing will hinder the high court to prosecute all the accused individuals without any doubt.