The Zimbabwean gardener languishing in a Botswana jail since 2016 might walk free after a magistrate lost patience with the prosecution dilly dallying with the graft case.

Bhekiwe Nkomazana is facing 10 charges including alleged theft of P3.9 million from his late boss, Solomon Tlhapane. in a long-dragging multimillion pula theft, graft case.

But Regional magistrate Masilo Mathaka has been irked by lack of action from prosecution, and threatened to release him.

Nkomazana is charged with corruption, theft, entering the country through an illegal point, forgery of title deeds, obtaining by false pretences and giving false information while applying for a Botswana national identity card and fraudulently obtaining a Botswana passport under the pretext that he was a registered citizen.

The magistrate said the prosecution was not serious about the matter and seemed to have lost interest to prosecute.

“It’s over two years now and the first accused person is still languishing in jail. Are you really interested to prosecute this matter? The lack of progress on your part leaves me with no choice, but to release and acquit the accused. We are just moving in circles,” Mathaka is quoted by Mmegi.

He cautioned the prosecution that if in the next mention date the case does not move forward, he will discharge the accused persons to allow the State time to think about whether they want to prosecute the matter or not. His comments followed submissions by defence counsel who all pleaded with the magistrate to dismiss the matter.

Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) attorney Thankane Lepekoane, briefly holding fort for the substantive prosecutor Seeletso Ookeditse, told the court that he was not given full instructions on how to proceed with the matter.

He pleaded with the court to set another date for a status update in 14 days, as the substantive prosecutor was unwell. “I have no further instructions on how to proceed. I plead with court to set new dates for status update,” he said. Meanwhile, the matter returns to court on February 27, 2019 for status update and ruling on the dismissal applications.