Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe threatens to sue after Botswana hires Gerrie Nel in $10bn graft case
Johannesburg - South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has again dismissed allegations that she was involved in stealing funds from the Botswana government in a bid to finance a coup in that country ahead of national elections last year.
Motsepe-Radebe is the wife of former Minister Jeff Radebe and President Cyril Ramphosa's sister-in-law.
This comes after AfriForum announced that it was appointed by the Botswana government to help represent it in its money-laundering and fraud case relating to more than $10-billion (R150 billion) allegedly stolen and channelled into accounts in which Motsepe-Radebe was identified as a signatory.
Motsepe-Radebe enjoys close ties with Botswana’s former president Ian Khama who threw his weight behind the opposition after his fallout with his successor and current president Mokgweetsi Masisi, and is accused of having aided Khama’s alleged plot to have Masisi dislodged from power.
Prominent SA prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who now heads up AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, has been hired to represent the Botswana government in pressuring Pretoria into cooperation in the saga after a submitted request for mutual legal assistance on 25 September 2019 to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) “disappeared”.
Motsepe-Radebe dismissed the allegations as baseless, including the alleged links to the Absa and Nedbank accounts which held the allegedly stolen funds.
“This bizarre allegation was first made in an affidavit deposed to by Jako Hubona, an investigator in Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, during the bail application by Wilhelmina Maswabi in Botswana. In this affidavit, it is alleged that I am one of the co-signatories on South African bank accounts held at various banks including ABSA and Nedbank owned by two companies: Blue Flies and Fire Flies,” she said.
On Tuesday, Nel said DIRCO’s failure to give feedback to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Botswana Stephan Tiroyakgosi - who hired him - over nine months, indicated that the SA government is unwilling to assist.
“We will intervene and ensure that our client receives the necessary cooperation from the South African government to ensure that justice prevails,” said Nel.
Motsepe-Radebe said a forensic investigation had already been conducted into the claims and that the two companies did not exist, as well as confirmation by the two banks that the alleged accounts referred to did not exist.
“It is preposterous to allege that I am a co-signatory of bank accounts that don't exist held by companies which also don't exist,” Motsepe-Radebe said.
She said she was planning to sue those who were behind the allegations against her, which she said had damaged her reputation, and that she had now appointed an independent business intelligence company to probe the origin of the claims.
“I am in consultation with my lawyers and intend to sue all parties who have publicly made false accusations about me in the Hubona affidavit.
“AfriForum also repeats the unsubstantiated allegation that I laundered money to sponsor a candidate in the Botswana national elections. This claim - emanating from a newspaper in Botswana - is also entirely baseless. I have instructed my lawyers to issue proceedings against the newspaper for defamation, to address this disinformation. These proceedings will be launched imminently,” she said.
Motsepe-Radebe threatened to also take legal action against AfriForum for peddling the allegations.
AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said it was “a privilege for AfriForum to officially work together with the Botswana government” to help eradicate alleged fraud and money-laundering.