Interest group AfriForum has poured cold water on the private investigation commissioned by SA businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe and which clear her of the fraud and money laundering allegations made against her by the Botswana government.
This comes as the head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, advocate Gerrie Nel, announced that the organisation was taking the SA government to court over its refusal to assist the Botswana government in the case against Motsepe-Radebe and former Botswana president Ian Khama.
The Botswana government had last year appointed AfriForum to represent it in getting the SA government to assist it after its request for mutual legal assistance was apparently ignored by Pretoria.
The case involved more than R150 billion ($10-billion) allegedly stolen from the Bank of Botswana and channelled into SA accounts in which Motsepe-Radebe was identified as a signatory before being channelled to offshore accounts.
Motsepe-Radebe enjoys close ties with Khama and the funds are alleged to have been used to back the opposition to Khama’s successor Mokgweetsi Masisi ahead of last year’s elections.
International law firm, Omnia Strategy LLP and business intelligence and investigations firm Alaco Ltd were hired by Motsepe-Radebe to probe the allegations however found them to be overwhelmingly based on fabricated accounts and evidence.
The Botswana and SA reserve banks have also denied having ever lost or cleared the allegedly stolen $10-billion, respectively, which was estimated to be more than half of Botswana’s total GDP.
Nel effectively lampooned the standing of the investigation commissioned by Motsepe-Radebe, including its findings.
“If you possess the means to commission and fund an investigation of yourself, by people appointed by yourself, it remains just that, an unendorsed, unofficial and untested investigation. Only the police have the mandate to officially investigate a crime,” he said.
He said while the privately funded investigation might be very useful for Motsepe-Radebe and Khama when making representation and defence, SA authorities had the duty to assist Botswana to continue with their probe.