– Jamali corruption case dismissed in court
The sun has finally set on the marathon corruption case involving property magnate Sayed Jamali and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Housing, Victor Rantshabeng.
After all legal jargon was decoded and interpreted, last week, Court of Appeal judge Justice Isaac Lesetedi permanently brought to a halt legal proceedings against Jamali who, together with his company Universal Builders and Rantshabeng were respondents in a state’s appeal against an acquittal by a Lobatse High Court.
Jamali and Rantshabeng were acquitted two years ago after convincing Justice Leburu of the Lobatse High Court that the seven years that their case which involved alleged corrupt land deals took to come to court was too long and constituted justtice denied.
When the case was finally taken to court, Rantshabeng who was said to have had direct interests in Universal Builders was accused of purchasing two plots from the company without disclosing his interests as a public officer.
He was also said to have advised the then Lands and Housing Minister Dr Margaret Nasha to reduce by half a plot that was wanted by Universal Builders.
On the third count Jamali and Universal Builders were said to have jointly influenced Rantshabeng by selling and transferring the two plots so he could advise Nasha to reduce the price of land by half.
Last year the state, after mounting public pressure and criticism, approached the Court of appeal after seven weeks instead of the prescribed six weeks from the date of judgement.
To add to the blunder, instead of filing the appeal with the High Court where it was addressed to and as per the normal practice, the appeal was filed with the Court of Appeal.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Justice Lesetedi dismissed the State’s application noting that procedure had been flawed.
When concluding his ruling Lesetedi ordered the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General who were cited as the First and Second Applicant respectively to pay the legal costs.
“The respondents have sought costs of the application. There is no ground upon which they should be denied the costs having regard to the cavalier manner in which both applicants handled this matter.
The various errors committed are without any justification and put the respondents to unnecessary legal expense.
I therefore consider this is a matter in which costs ought, as a measure of the court’s displeasure, to be granted in favour of the respondents as against 1st applicant and as against 2nd applicant only in so far as the filing of the said applicant’s heads of argument and address in court is concerned.”