The Court of Appeal has partly agreed to arguments raised by former Kgori Capital Asset Management Company Director, Bakang Seretse, with regard to his appeal against the 2021 decision by the Gaborone High Court to forfeit his assets to the Government on grounds that they were proceeds of crime.
Seretse had approached the Apex Court to be allowed to appeal after some administration hiccups delayed his appeal in November 2022. While the Court was not convinced by the explanation of the hiccups, and labelling such an act of negligence, it was satisfied that the grounds of appeal confirmed prospects of success at appeal.
The main points that Seretse raised hinged on the argument that the High Court relied on hearsay evidence to determine the outcome of the case. The COA also agreed that; “The affidavits before the High Court raised substantial disputes of fact and the matter should therefore, have been referred to evidence. That the High Court was in error in dealing with the assets in question en masse and that each asset should have been dealt with individually with reference to its acquisition.”
Justice Dr Singh Walia presided over the hearing and came to the conclusion that; “Having perused the pleadings and the judgment and considered the argument before me, I am satisfied that the grounds of appeal speak to reasonable prospects of success of the appeal.”
Government officials who deposed the affidavits in question were never called to the witness stand to testify and be subjected to cross examination.
Justice Dr Walia therefore gave a green light for Seretse to pay a total of P25,000.00 for security for costs and the costs of preparation of the record within seven days.
The assets are among others under the care of the Office of the Receiver with a total estimated value of over P200 million. Speaking to journalists after the arguments in early May, Seretse’s lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae expressed doubt that his client was going to find some of the moveable assets in good condition that they were in when they were forfeited.
The matter is one of the many cases linked to the National Petroleum Fund in which over P200 million set aside for construction of Oil Reservoirs around the country was allegedly misappropriated at the then Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.
The saga involved officials from the ministry, agents at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) and officials from Kgori Capital Asset managers.
Seretse was charged with several counts of corruption and money laundering but he was discharged and acquitted by the Gaborone Extension II Magistrates court in December 2020.