In an unprecedented turn of events, Advocate Sidney Pilane on behalf of objector John Siele has filed for a stay of execution application “a night before ruling.” Although the ruling on principal residence went ahead, the stay of execution case is consequently expected to be heared this Monday at the High Court.
Confidential court documents passed to Weekend Post in a fresh case on Friday this week, suggest that Siele and his lawyer Pilane want High Court to rule to stay any decision by the Chief Magistrate, Gaborone Village. They want “a stay of execution on their objections pending the hearing and determination by High court, and in the event of an appeal by the Court of Appeal, of the review applications brought by themselves.”
In addition, they want court to “take notice that the Chief Magistrate be called upon to refrain from making any decision on the objections of the applicants pending the hearing and final end and determination of the application for stay hereby made, by the above Honourable court.” In the court papers, Siele, Tabane and attorney Thembani Jeremiah Siele represented by Ramalepa attorneys filed affidavits that will be used in support of the application.
The stay of execution application comes before and after Duma Boko, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader was triumphant in a case which questioned his principal residence. Village Court Magistrate Goodwill Makofi ruled on Friday that he (Boko) was rightful registered for the 2019 General Elections in Phase 2 which is his principal residence under the circumstances and not Tlokweng.
However, a night before judgement, Pilane filed the stay of execution matter as an urgent application although he lost the judgement to Boko the following day. According to Boko’s lawyer, Dick Bayford, what is strange is that the stay of execution application has been noticed although the magistrate court decision on the matter is final.
“The ruling is final. That is what the law says. In fact Pilane even mentioned it that he wanted the court to stop Boko because he knew once the court has made the ruling, it will be final and binding,” Bayford told Weekend Post exclusively after the principal residence judgement. Bayford added that at court he (Pilane) wants “stay” though in the common sense the court ruled that Boko is rightful registered in Phase 2, Gaborone, and it’s his principal residence, and nothing would change it.
He further explained that what would normally happen in court is that a party or individual will wait for a court decision to be made and then complain about that decision thereafter, and not how Pilane and Siele has done. “It’s just logical to wait for court ruling,” he stressed. What has happened about this particular case, he explained, is that even before the judgement of the court was delivered, as the case was registered on Thursday, before ruling, Siele/Pilane goes to the High Court to ask for stay of the ruling.
“This happened while it was entirely possible that the court could rule in Siele’s favour. He is seeking for a stay of the ruling of the Magistrate court. Supposing it was ruled on his favour, was he still going to ask for his stay. That is where the absurdity of the application stems from,” Bayford pointed out.
According to the well-established lawyer, this has happened because interlocutory rulings are not appealable; and when you appeal an interlocutory order you must show that it is dispositive of the whole case. You also have to show that you have reasonable prospects of success; and seek leave or permission of the court, he highlighted.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.