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Botswana intelligence agent Welheminah Maswabi granted bail

Welheminah Maswabi, whose code name is now known as Butterfly, was initially denied bail as the court said she was a flight risk.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - Botswana intelligence agent Welheminah Maswabi - who is accused of laundering $10 billion with former President Ian Khama and South African businessperson Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe - has been granted bail on Friday.

This after South African banks denied holding accounts that she and Motsepe-Radebe allegedly co-signed.

Prosecutors have deposed affidavits with documents that the banks say are fabricated.

Maswabi, whose code name is now known as Butterfly, was initially denied bail as the court said she was a flight risk.

Motsepe-Radebe’s world has been rocked by allegations of illicit flows and terrorism from Botswana.

The mining magnate - who is also former Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s wife, billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s sister and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sister-in-law - has been slapped with a travel ban after she was initially accused of funding regime change.

She has admitted that her friendship with Khama dates back to their fathers and that they travelled together to Zimbabwe where they are accused of hatching an alleged coup, but she denies ever taking an interest in the politics of that country.

However, those initial allegations forced President Ramaphosa to send then Minister of International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu and ANC head of international relations Lindiwe Zulu to mend relations between the two countries.

She and her brother Patrice Motsepe have threatened to sue the Sunday Standard - a newspaper that reported most of the allegations - including that she was planning to recruit and train Guerillas, and to deploy plain-clothed soldiers from South Africa.

But it’s Maswabi who has become a spectacle as her lawyer Uyapo Ndadi explains.

“The scenes have been devastating. During the last court appearance, the judge asked why there were so many security officers in the dock because they sit with her in the dock and outside court was something I would never have imagined would happen in Botswana, armed security guards exceeding 100 in 15 to 20 cars escorting her.”

Ndadi said the public too had taken interest in Maswabi’s case.

“The public were not sympathetic but as events unfolded, the public started to see, especially after the affidavit was filed showing that the State had lied.”

After nearly a month, Maswabi has now been granted bail and Ndadi said the evidence from South African banks was what helped her application.

“Our investigations revealed that the State lied; the accounts do not exist, the companies that my client and Miss Motsepe are linked with do not exist and are not registered. So, we approached the court to say this woman was denied bail on fabricated evidence.”

The State abandoned opposing Maswabi’s bail and the Botswana Gazette reports that the governor of the reserve bank told Parliament this week that no such transactions ever happened.

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