The Law society of Botswana has expressed its disgust at persistent reports that judges are taking bribes. This was said at a meeting to mark the opening of the Botswana legal year, on Tuesday 6 February 2024, which was hosted at the head office of the law society of Friday.
Doreen Khama, a senior member of the bar, said the conduct by such corrupt judges is disgraceful and needs to be nipped in the bud. She said action should be taken without delay against such judges.
The law society of Botswana has resolved to name and shame such judges, however, members are afraid of victimisation if they individually make reports. A suggestion has been made for an anonymous reporting system to be put in place through the courts and law society website.
Peter Collins, a former judge and now a senior member of the bar, said Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane needs to step up and fix the rot as he is the head of the judiciary.
Osego Garebamono, the chairman of the law Society of Botswana, said a survey of legal practitioners has confirmed that judges are taking bribes. He said for this reason, the law society decided to boycott the opening of the legal year, which was addressed by Chief Justice Rannowane.
On his part, Chief Justice Rannowane defended the judges. Speaking during the opening of the legal year, he said the latest world justice project report, which was released on 15 October 2023, has found that Botswana is the best criminal justice system in Africa, and is ranked number 32 out of 142 in the world.
Chief Justice Rannowane slammed lawyers who travel vast distances between courts, shopping for their favourite judges who they prefer to hear their cases.
He said history has shown that no matter how objective courts are, there will still be accusations of bias levelled against judges.