Fugitive from justice

Bame Piet
IN THE FIRING LINE: Ian Khama

Khama suffers High Court blow

Gaborone High Court dealt Ian Khama a serious body blow on Tuesday, declaring the former president a fugitive from justice who has lost all rights to seek help from Botswana courts.

Crushing SKI’s attempts to have the criminal charges against him dropped, Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo warned Botswana’s 5th President he had repeatedly failed to avail himself before the courts – despite a warrant for his arrest being issued against him over two years ago – and therefore is not entitled to benefit from the same court processes.

“I find that the former president is a fugitive from justice who does not have loca standi in this and other courts of Botswana during his status as a fugitive from justice,” ruled Nyamadzabo as he dismissed Khama’s application to review and set aside a case in which he is charged with possession of firearms and ammunition.

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The judge also imposed punitive costs against the former president on grounds that he wasted the court’s time and resources on a case that has no merit at all.

He further pointed out that Khama ‘unceremoniously’ left the country on 8th November, 2021 when search warrants had already been issued with respect to several of his properties.

“He knew or ought to have known that criminal charges against him were imminent,” reasoned Nyamadzabo, adding the 70-year-old soldier-turned-politician has admitted possession of the said firearms and ammunition.

“He must account for them before the magistrate, and prove that he acquired their licences within the law. It is before the trial court, where witnesses on both sides will be called and cross examined, that evidence will be led as to whether the said licences were properly issued. And the strength of the police evidence will hence be tested before that court,” continued the High Court Judge, who dismissed Khama’s defence that the charges against him were politically and maliciously motivated.

“He has not provided any evidence to support such,” noted Nyamadzabo, arguing if indeed Khama experienced political harassment, he would have fled BW in 2019 and not two years later on the very day he was facing arrest for failing to hand over the guns under investigation.

Following the damning ruling, The Voice contacted Khama’s spokesperson, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, who explained they were still studying the judgment and would comment at a later stage.

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Khama and Isaac Kgosi, as well as suspended Commissioner of Police, Keabetswe Makgophe, Victor Paledi, and Sehunelo Khunou, have a pending trial before the Broadhurst Magistrates’ Court in connection with the possession and licensing of multiple firearms to the two.

Kgosi’s application was disqualified after it failed to meet the legal requirements, while other accused persons did not take part at all.

The criminal charges were prompted by the former spy boss’ utterances that he would topple the government of Botswana during his arrest at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport on 15th January, 2019.

During investigations, several firearms and ammunition were found at his properties, and some documents reportedly led investigators to the former president.

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