The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) intends to move the corruption case against the Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Vincent Seretse to the High court as early as January next year.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Leonard Sechele told the village Magistrate court about the plans when Seretse and three other accused persons, Paul Paledi, Berndt Guston Astrom and Serala (Pty) Ltd appeared for mention on Wednesday.
“As indicated, the DPP intends to invite the accused persons for trial at the high court. We have agreed on the 14 January, 2013 for the application to court,” Sechele explained to court.
The four accused are facing four different charges for related offences.
Seretse, a 55-year old former Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) boss is facing two counts of corruption. He is accused of abusing office when he was BTC’s Chief Executive Officer in 2008 and of taking part in awarding a tender to a company called Serala (Pty) Ltd which he had interests in.
The Director of the company in question, Serala (Pty) Ltd, Paul Paledi was summoned before the Magistrate to answer allegations of giving false information to a government employee.
Paledi, the 50-year who was absent from court due to ill health when the matter first appeared in court a few weeks ago was read the charge sheet.
Paledi is appearing as second accused and third accused in this matter, as he has to also answer for charges leveled against his company.
He is said to have told an evaluation team leader that in fact it was his company, which recruited BTC employees when in actual fact, Seretse unlawfully recruited them.
His attorney, Mboki Chilisa said Paledi’s case needed not to be taken to the high court, as according to him, he had not been charged with corruption.
However the DPP told him that it did not matter whether he was charged with corruption or not and that the decision of who to charge and where to take the case was at the discretion of the DPP.
The fourth accused is Bernt Guston Astrom who is alleged to have doubled as BTC Project Manager and a Project Coordinator for Serala between 5th and 8th of March 2007.
The Directorate of Public Prosecution maintains that Astrom was acting knowingly and without lawful authority when he engaged in “an act, which was prejudicial to the rights and interests of BTC.”
The four accused are expected to appear again for mention on January 15 next year.