THE Botswana government’s decision to employ AfriForum’s Gerrie Nel to represent them in their battle against SA business woman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has raised the ire of Gaborone’s legal profession.
AfriForum announced this week that its private prosecution unit led by Gerrie Nel was officially appointed by the Botswana government to represent it in a money laundering and fraud case.
The organisation said Motsepe-Radebe, sister to mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, is implicated in the case.
The organisation said Nel and advocate Phyllis Vorster were officially appointed by Botswana’s Director of Public Prosecution, advocate Stephen Tiroyakgosi to represent them in the case against Radebe.
The Botswana government has not commented on the matter.
However, AfriForum said the mandate in this case “is to facilitate the Botswana government’s request for mutual legal assistance in the Bank of Botswana fraud and money-laundering matter.”
According to AfriForum, Motsepe-Radebe was allegedly identified as a cosignatory of at least two bank accounts (one of which was an Absa and the other a Nedbank account) holding some of the more than $10 billion (R150 billion) allegedly stolen from the Botswana government to finance a “coup” before the national election in this country.
AfriForum also alleged that there are accusations against Motsepe-Radebe that she laundered millions of Botswana pulas (the country’s currency) through Avante Security Services to sponsor the opposition candidate of Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, who is now president of Botswana.
“It is a privilege for AfriForum to officially work together with the Botswana government. It is necessary for us as fellow Africans who want to help ensure that our continent is successful, to do everything in our power to eradicate fraud and money-laundering. Our continent and sub-continent have immense potential that is being handicapped by corrupt elite. AfriForum is committed to strengthening the Botswana government’s hand in this necessary fight against corruption,” said AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel.
However, the Law Society of Botswana has come out guns blazing, calling on the government to “urgently reconsider its engagement of Afriforum and reaffirm its commitment to ensuring racial equality and harmony in Botswana.”
The Law Society said in a hard hitting statement that the decision by government to choose AfriForum “ahead of many other Afrikaner legal practitioners, whose commitment to the values of racial equality are indisputable, the Government is conveying to its citizens that it is ready to harbor and provide a paradise for racists and supremacists.”
“The Government’s ill-advised choice validates the small pockets of racists that we have in our country, particularly within the tourism sector, who have little regard for black people,” the society said.
The lawyers organisation slammed the government’s choice of representation is inconsistent with the recent display of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement shown by cabinet when it observed a moment of silence for George Floyd.
“If we recognize that black lives truly matter, we cannot as a country fund organisations that unapologetically and unflinchingly oppose the upliftment of black people previously disadvantaged by apartheid,” it said.
“Whilst we concede that Government does not break any laws in engaging white supremacist organisations, we expect Government to be exemplary and promote basic moral standards by refraining from funding organisations that advocate for racial inequality, segregation and continuity oppression of black people. Government’s decisions should at all times reflect good morality, integrity and judgment.”
(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)