Ngakaagae wants NPF charges dropped
- DPP case could collapse
- Kebonang twins acquitted
The National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case in which high profile figures face corruption charges, appears headed for collapse as the defence moves to have all charges dropped.
In the aftermath of the acquittal of the Kebonang twins Sadique and Zein for lack of evidence, defence lawyers Kgosietsile Ngakaagae and Unoda Mack have called on the court to set aside the remaining charges, saying they don’t make sense.
Ngakaagae, who acts for Bakang Seretse, Kenneth Kerekang, Mpho Kerekang and Tshepho Bojelo, said the charges against Bojelo and Kerekang do not state their crimes and that it is not enough for the state to mention that people “acted in common purpose”.
“Participation in an offence is not an offence,” he asserted. “Participating knowingly in an offence is an offence.”
During the status hearing of the case held at Extension II Magistrates Court on Wednesday, the outspoken defence counsel asked the court to deal with what he termed abuse of power by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions ((DPP).
Ngakaagae said the charges of money laundering as faced by Bojelo, Kago Setimela and Mogomotsi Seretse do not state what offence they committed.
“The charge sheet speaks to possible malicious prosecution,” he said. “In law you can’t present malice as fact. It’s a subjective state of mind.”
According to the defence lawyer, the state has instituted a trial by ambush characterised by its inability to explain charges. “They should go back, regroup and come back when they have put their house in order,” Ngakaagae charged.
As a new development, he then made an application for exception as provided for by Section 144 of The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. “We submit that we (have) made a case on exception,” he stated. “We are saying that these charges must be struck off the charge sheet. The remedy for exception is striking off (charges).”
Ngaakagae attacked the DPP’s charge sheet, saying it does not make sense either in law or in English. He proceeded to make reference to Kerekang’s charge in which the state alleges that for the valuable consideration of Bakang Seretse, Kerekang transacted P250 million to Khulacho (Pty) Ltd
Making submissions before Extension II Chief Magistrate, Kamogelo Mmesi, Ngakaagae said the DPP’s grave deficiencies can only mean that they charged people to embarrass them. He condemned the behaviour of the DPP and said the charges should fall right away.
“The errors are just too many, almost in every single count,” he stated.
Whereupon prosecutor Pascal Mandu stood up to oppose exception for the charges to fall off even though the state failed to file opposing papers. This was objected by the defence, prompting the court to rule that “the court will proceed on the basis that there is no opposition from the prosecution and will set a date for the ruling on the exception application,” Magistrate Mmesi said.
In the meantime, Unoda Mack representing the Kebonang brothers said following the High Court’s ruling which set aside his clients charges, he intends to write a letter to the DPP to give them space to reconsider continuing prosecution against their failure of which he will approach the High Court again.
The brothers want to be removed from future court appearances following their triumph earlier this week.
The case is set to return on the 08th December 2020 where it is expected that court will make a determination on the defence’s request for their charges to be struck off.