The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services has launched an appeal against a ruling by Lobatse High Court Justice Ranier Busang dismissing their application for a Search and Seizure warrant on Former President Ian Khama’s property.
According to an affidavit by a DISS agent (name cannot be disclosed for legal reasons) the search warrant was issued but Plot 260/261, or State House 4 was not included in both the application and Court order.
This resulted in the Former President and his attorneys denying DISS access to State House 4 where the latter believed the guns were kept.
However, when they went back to the High Court to seek an order for search of the property, the judge dismissed their application saying they were trying to bite at the cherry twice.
“The Respondent denied us access and permission to search the property but confirmed that some of the arms and ammunition covered by the application were within the premises in a safe which was locked and the person who had the keys to the safe was unavailable,” reads the affidavit.
The former president was given notice to voluntarily surrender the arms and ammunition by 8th November 2021.
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“On the same date, without notifying the applicant or surrendering the arms and ammunitions, the respondent left the country to South Africa and has remained there up to the present date. Subsequent investigations revealed that there were firearms and ammunitions which were sneaked into the armoury at State House 4 which led to the sealing of the armoury in order to preserve the scene”.
The DISS argue that the Court of Appeal should hear their case as a matter of urgency since they believe Khama could face treason charges, and that the guns should be submitted to a ballistic expert for purposes of determining whether the arms and ammunition are arms and ammunition of war.
“Applications for search and seizure warrants are done on an ex-parte basis for the purposes of preventing suspects from interfering with or destroying evidence before investigations can lay their hands on the same. In the event that the appeal is to be heard in the normal process, the respondent will have more than sufficient time to temper with or even destroy evidence thereby rendering the appeal moot,” says the DISS.
Further, the DISS say; “The matter is of great public importance in that it affects a former president who potentially faces a charge of treason and it is imperative that it should be brought to finality sooner than later”.
The DISS argued that the ruling by Justice Busang has halted their investigations and the situation has been compounded by the absence of the former president in the country.
They further argue that the judge erred in stating that they were seeking “a second bite to the cherry” when in actual fact there has been no previous warrant relating to State House 4.
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Khama was represented by Tebogo Tladi, Unoda Mack, and Victor Ramalepa whilst the DIS was represented by Sifelani Thapelo, and Pulane Kgwadi.
Justice Stephen Gaongalelwe to make a ruling at a date to be announced.