AfriForum today announced that the Private Prosecution Unit, under the leadership of Adv. Gerrie Nel, has brought a mandamus application against, amongst others, Ronald Lamola, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, to force the Department of Justice to take steps to facilitate mutual legal assistance in the money-laundering and fraud case in which businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe is implicated. Motsepe-Radebe is the sister-in-law of Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and wife of Jeff Radebe.
AfriForum announced in June of this year that Adv. Gerrie Nel and Adv. Phyllis Vorster of the Private Prosecution Unit had officially been appointed by the Botswana government to represent them in this matter with the mandate to facilitate the Botswana government’s request for mutual legal assistance in the Bank of Botswana fraud and money-laundering matter. This follows after Adv. Stephen Tiroyakgosi, Botswana’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), already submitted a request for mutual legal assistance on 25 September 2019 to the South African government, but this request has since conveniently vanished. A second application was prepared, but the Department of International Relations and Cooperative Governance (DIRCO) informed the Botswana High Commission that the Department does not accept any documents due to “COVID-19 regulations”.
“The Department of Justice’s failure to react to an application for mutual legal assistance from a neighbouring country with regard to alleged corruption totally contradicts statements of Mr Lamola and government in the media that they are serious about acting against those who are guilty of corruption. This reflects negatively on the established commission under the direction of Minister Lamola. The inference is irresistible that the government is simply paying lip-service to its so-called fight against corruption. Therefore the only inference that can be made is that high-ranking individuals with political connections may be overlooked for corruption,” says Adv. Nel.
AfriForum also expressed its discontent with the lack of feedback from the Director-General of Justice on two other international cases in which the Private Prosecution Unit is currently involved:
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) issued warrants of arrest for two of the four alleged murderers of Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former Rwandan Head of Intelligence, in September 2019. The NPA at that stage indicated that it was in the process of applying for the extradition of Ismael Gafaranga and Alex Sugira.
This followed after Adv. Nel and the Private Prosecution Unit supported the Karegeya family in the informal inquest regarding the death of Karegeya. The Randburg Magistrate’s Court in April 2019 referred the case back to the NPA after a finding by the presiding officer that there is prima facie evidence of identifiable persons who were responsible for the death of Col. Karegeya.
The Private Prosecution Unit on 10 July 2020 wrote to Adv. Jacob Skosana, the Director-General (DG) of the Department of Justice, requesting that the DG confirm whether the extradition process has been set in motion, as well as the steps taken to ensure the execution of the extradition. AfriForum also requested copies of the “red notices” issued by Interpol.
The NPA informed AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit in April 2019 that it had applied to have Grace Mugabe extradited to South Africa. Grace Mugabe assaulted and seriously injured Gabriella Engels, a Johannesburg model, with an extension cord in 2017.
The NPA informed the Private Prosecution Unit on 2 June 2020 that its application for the extradition of the accused was referred to the Department of Justice for confirmation and disseminate to the Government of Zimbabwe in July 2019.
On 10 July 2020 Adv. Skosana was requested to explain the delay, as well as to reveal the steps that the Department of Justice has taken to bring about the extradition. No response has been received to this letter.