Businessman accused of swindling Botswana pension fund banks on SCA appeal to avoid extradition
Johannesburg - A South African businessman accused of swindling the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund out of R280million is banking on the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to avoid extradition.
Equity manager Tim Marsland sought to convince the Bench of the Bloemfontein-based court that Botswana failed to follow South African and Southern African Development Community laws in its bid to have him extradited.
Marsland was headed to the SCA to appeal a Joburg High Court ruling that rejected his argument that he was entitled to be freed from prison as Justice Minister Ronald Lamola never issued a notice for his extradition, nor did he receive an extradition request.
The 54-year-old who holds dual South African and British citizenship has been imprisoned at the Modderbee Correctional Facility, Benoni, since his arrest 15 months ago.
He was nabbed at OR Tambo International Airport on July 12 2019, as he was about to board a plane to Germany.
A magistrate issued his arrest warrant on an Interpol Red Notice. Interpol sought his arrest in South Africa pending his extradition to Botswana to face money-laundering charges.
Marsland said the notice was issued after receival of formal extradition documentation from the requesting country.
The SCA confirmed in its bulletin that it would hear arguments on the “interpretation of what constituted ‘receival’ of formal extradition documentation”.
It will also have to decide if “the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development must issue a notification in terms of section 5(1)(a) of the Extradition Act within the prescribed time frame to trigger the extradition enquiry”.
The National Prosecuting Authority said it had received Botswana’s extradition application via the Justice and International Relations departments. But it remained Marland’s argument that only Lamola had powers to receive the extradition request and issue an extradition notice.
Judge Elias Matojane shot down Marsland’s argument at the South Gauteng High Court, Joburg, in September last year.
He had said: “The submission by the applicant that it must be the minister only who should receive the request for extradition and that until such time that the minister has issued the... notice, no extradition request can be said to have been received must be rejected.”
The matter is due to be heard next month.