STATE FIRES CONTROVERSIAL SHAUN ABRAHAMS

GBORONE 24 May 2019, State prosecutor in the National Petroleum Fund (BPF) added Kgori Capital and its two directors in the list of accused persons, the court reviles on 24 May 2019 in Gaborone. State prosecutor advocate Shaun Abrahams in the court before the proceeding starts. (Pic:MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

…with a whopping P17m handshake 

Kitso Dickson & Kabo Ramasia

Staff Writers

Shaun Abrahams, the lead prosecutor in one of Botswana’s highly politically-charged corruption cases, has reportedly been fired and awarded a whopping exit package of P17 million, The Business Weekly & Review established.

Abrahams headed efforts to nail the culprits in the NPF’s multimillion-pula corruption case in which nearly P250 million was allegedly misappropriated. This publication has established that differences of opinion among the state’s prosecution team regarding the much-publicised NPF case were some the reasons that government parted ways with the former head of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

The Business Weekly & Review understands that Abrahams at one point told the state that there was no solid case in the NPF matter. Those close to the developments say state resisted this advice.  

The NPF is one of the most controversial cases of corruption involving former DISS boss Isaac Kgosi and prominent asset manager Bakang Seretse. The prosecution has been running back and forth amending the charge sheet and having more accused added. 

For observers who have been following the proceedings, the longer the case drags, the deeper the NPF conundrum will likely worsen until even defence lawyers have their heads spinning. The wheels of justice have never been slower than they are in the NPF case. Just this week, Justice Radijeng postponed judgment in the subpoena application where the main accused, Seretse, wanted President Mokgweetsi Masisi, former president Ian Khama and other executives from the past administration to testify before court. Judgement is now on the 29 June. 

After his disastrous career in South Africa, Abrahams was approached to lead the prosecution team to assist with the case. But sources say Abrahams was soon taking sides with the DCEC at the expense of other law enforcement agencies interested in the matter, thereby compromising certain cases. 

Further, he was seen as a conduit to certain cases in Botswana by South African interests. In one particular case, his involvement led the state to bungle a matter with alleged ‘fake’ evidence material presented before court, leading to embarrassment and finger-pointing by various state actors.

While Abrahams was roped in for a case which involves a former president in Botswana, handling of matters relating to a former president of South Africa was not without controversy. According to reports in the neighbouring country, he was criticised for the way he handled a case involving Jacob Zuma. Reports indicate that a full bench of the Pretoria High Court in 2017 found that his appointment was unlawful and set it aside.

According to a report by News24, Judge Dunstan Mlambo ruled that Abrahams was biased in his dealings with Zuma, should vacate his office and that then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a replacement within 60 days because Zuma was “conflicted”. The report further noted that Abrahams appealed against the ruling but it was later confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

The Business Weekly & Review was stonewalled by Stephen Tiroyakgosi, the director at DPP, when it approached his office.