IN COURT: Magdeline Maine

Founding ombudsman’s wife in court for P50 000 bribery

Amid thrilling tales of undercover sting operations and bribery, the trial of Magdeline Maine, widow of the late founding Ombudsman, Lithebe Amos Maine, commenced before the Gaborone Regional Magistrates Court last week.

Maine is accused of bribing a Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) officer with P50, 000 to steal and destroy her investigation docket.

It is alleged that she offered the bribe in connection with another case she was embroiled in, involving the fraudulent sale of land.

Testifying before a gripped magistrates court, the lead investigating officer (IO) in the original case, Lerato Dube explained how Maine allegedly attempted to buy her way out of trouble.

“After completing our investigations we invited her (Maine) for an interview on March 14, 2013. After the interview she said there were other documents she wished to share with us that would support her case and she asked for some time to go and look for the documents.”

Continuing her narrative, Dube went on to say, “After some time she called again and said she wanted to meet with me but I was not available, so she asked if she could meet another officer I was working with, and I agreed.

“The officer later told me that Maine had asked to meet with him in person, which he agreed. He came back to tell me that Maine offered him P50, 000 in return for the investigation docket. I then reported the matter to the DCEC assessment section.”

Following on from Dube’s testimony, Chief Anti-Corruption Technical Officer at the DCEC, Selefa Banyatsang took to the stand.

He told the court that on June 8, 2013, he was assigned a sting operation where the accused was to meet a DCEC IO at a ‘secret place’ where the transaction would be made.

The meeting was to take place at a shopping complex in Nkoyaphiri, where the undercover Banyatsang was waiting with backup.

The officer was under instruction to signal Banyatsang and his men once Maine had swapped the money for the dummy copy of the docket.

According to Banyatsang, Maine arrived at the complex at around midday, driving a white Land Cruiser. She then met with the DCEC IO.

“I saw him signalling to show that the transaction had taken place – that was when I approached them. I identified myself to the DCEC officer and I told him he was under arrest for a suspected corrupt deal. I then arrested him. By then I noticed the accused had started her engine ready to leave.

“I requested her to stop and took the car keys out of the ignition. I did not arrest Maine because of issues regarding arresting women; I called for other officers for assistance instead,” he testified.

Banyatsang said that upon searching the two (Maine and the DCEC officer) they recovered cash amounting to P25, 000 from the officer and a file labelled ‘The state Versus M. Motshwaane’ in Maine’s possession.

The Voice has been reliably informed that the land fraud case Maine was initially investigated for dates as far back as 2004, when over 200 plots were sold and or transferred illegally for millions of Pula.

Maine was allegedly an accomplice in a case in which one Eunice Sibongile Ncube illegally sold a plot located in Mmopane Block 1 to Abel Bishop Basupeng back in 2005.

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