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CMB Directors intend to sue for malicious investigation

Capital Management Botswana (CMB) directors have noticed the Director General of the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime that they intend to sue for malicious investigation and prosecution. They also argue that the DCEC has no mandate over their dispute with the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).

Kanjabanga has given DCEC 30 days’ notice of his clients’s intentions to challenge and or review the decision to investigate them and the decision to prosecute or charge them as in their view the DCEC has exceeded its mandate and that the conduct of investigators is mala fide. “The decision to investigate and charge clients is irrational and unreasonable and is without any legal basis,” he writes.

We are also instructed to note that the legal proceedings for which clients herein issuing statutory notice for their institution wiould equally be instituted against your investigator namely Jako Hubona  who appear to be personal on this matter , whom clients would join to the suit personally and would cliam costs from him in his personal capacity.

Kanjabanga says his clients will not only seek costs personally against the investigator, “we are further placing yourselves and him on notice that clients would be suing for constitutional damages for harassment, degrading and inhuman treatment and for malicious investigation and charges.”

“You will recall that ever since the dispute between client’s Capital Management Botswana (CMB), Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority began some years back, our clients have always cooperated with your office on whatever investigation your office sought to carry on clients as regards the dispute herein,” writes Kanjabanga in his letter to the DCEC Director General. “Our Rapula Okaile has been to your office on many occasions to assist your officers with whatever information they needed as regards the CMB-BPOPF dispute.”

Kanjabanga states that he ison record as having indicated to DCEC officers and even to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that clients including Mr Timothy Marsland who lives and stays in South Africa are available and wiling to assist with any information DCEC officers may need. “We even made it clear that should it be necessary for Mr Marsland to come give his side of the story, your officers should inform us and we will secure his attendance at your office.”

According to Kanjabanga this was done as a way of a gesture of our client’s readiness and willingness to cooperate with DCEC officers and also to demonstrate that clients had nothing to hide more so that they have not done anything illegal. “Client’s cooperation with your office was done out of a desire to resolve this matter amicably and nothwithstanding their cooperation with your officers they have emphatically maintained the view that your officers are investigating a matter over which the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC)  have no mandate in terms of the law,” he writes. 

Kanjabanga contends that the contractual dispute between his clients, CMB and the BPOPF relates to pension funds that belong to public officers under the Retirement Fund Act and are not public funds over which the DCEC could exercise investigating powers. “We have mentioned this to your officers and even to the DPP on several instances hoping that your officers would understand that they are doing something that is illegal.”

The CMB lawyer also protests, Marsland’s arrest in South Africa, “They however appear to have ignored our caution to them and are bent on proceeding with the illegal investigation to a point that in a rather bizarre and malicious way caused our client Mr Timothy Marsland to be arrested to the South African Police in Joghannesburg, South Africa.”

“This they did despite the fact that they never informed us or even him or his business partner Mr Rapula Okaile that they wanted to see Mr Marsland.  Your investigating officers in this matter are dealing with us and clients in bad faith and appear to have ulterior motives.”
“They have somehow taken their investigating docket and quite conveniently did not provide the DPPP with the necessary documentation as regards the investments in Kawena Holdings (PTY) ltd.

They have deliberately never sought the attendance of Mr Marsland this side as they know her was in South Africa in order that they could obtain his version of the story. Neither did they even bother to contact him telephonically to invite him this side or interview him over the phone.” Kanjabanga is of the view that the DCEC has deliberately not made contact with Mr Marsland and has also rejected any attempts to assist them bring Mr Marsland to Botswana, they create the impression that Mr Marsland has not provided his version of events and provide the DPP with incomplete information. “This they did to justify him being arrested.”

“We wrote to DPP to provide them with Mr Marsland’s version after they indicated that it was needed and even pledged Mr Marland’s full cooperation with them including attending meetings should it be necessary. We further provided documentation which your investigators have conveniently failed to provide to DPP, in order that it may appear as if clients had done something wrong.” According to Kanjabanga the investigators obtained Mr Marsland’s warrant arrest ex-parte, witout service or notification to his attorneys. He also demanded a copy of Marsland’s arrest warrant and the charge sheet used for his arrest.

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Botswana confirms new COVID-19 variant

17th May 2021
covid19

Botswana health officials have confirmed the new COVOD-19 variant, which was first found in India. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has through a press statement informed members of the public that a new COVID-19 variant (B.1.617), first discovered in India. The Indian variant was confirmed in Botswana on 13 May 2021.

According to Christopher Nyanga, spokesperson at the Ministry, this followed a case investigation within Greater Gaborone, involving people of Indian origin who arrived in the country on the 24th April 2021.

“As at 16 May 2021, the B. 1. 617 variant was confirmed in two (2) people. The clients are currently receiving medical care and remain stable with no life-threatening symptoms. The two (2) cases were part of 383 people (both Batswana and some Indian nationals) who were tested for COVID-19. From this number, 43 tested positive, with two (2) showing the B. 1. 617 variant as already alluded to. Contact tracing has been expanded in line with COVID-19 protocols. All contacts and confirmed cases have been evacuated to facility based quarantine and isolation respectively, for close monitoring,” Nyanga narrated.

The World Health Organization recently announced that the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.

Meanwhile in the wake of Botswana’s confirmation of the Indian variant, Nyanga reminded the public of the government intervention to control the introduction of new variants of public health concern into the country. He stated that all those who have travelled or transited through areas of high risk as previously communicated on 3rd May 2021 upon return shall immediately quarantine in a central area to be identified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for a period not exceeding ten (10) days; Repeat Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test after seven (7) days of quarantine and be discharged as per the outcome of the results.

He said the requirements are complementary to the mandatory requirements of producing on arrival a negative PCR test not older than 72hrs from the time the sample was collected

“The public is advised to remain vigilant and minimize the spread of COVID-19 by following the already outlined preventative measures such as washing of hands with soap or use of a hand sanitizer, wearing of face masks, avoiding crowded places/social distancing and avoiding non-essential movement,” Nyanga said.

The India variant – officially called B.1.617.2 – is one of four mutated versions of coronavirus which have been designated as being “of concern” by transitional public health bodies, with others first being identified in Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

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Khama lawyers dismiss BDP’s MacD

17th May 2021
former President Lt Gen Ian Khama

The lawyers representing former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, Ramalepa Attorneys have come forth dismissing a response letter penned down by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist MacDonald Peloetletse after he was slapped with a P1.5 million lawsuit for defamation of their client.

Tebogo Tladi, an attorney at Ramalepa, said last week Thursday Peloetletse took to social media to publish a substantively false, wrongful and unlawful statement about Khama. MacDonald Peloetletse’s commentary which was posted on Gabz FM News page reads, “I am a former soldier. Everything former President SKI Khama said here is a LIE. In fact, soldiers suffered more under Khama than under his predecessors.

He actually stole money that the UN had paid to the soldiers who went for the operations and paid them less than a quarter of what was actually due to them.  “Unhappy soldiers took the BDF to court and won, the BDF is still struggling to pay the debts! Khama can fool some people, but not all the people and not all the time.

“In fact many soldiers, serving, retired and those that resigned and were in the operations during Khama’s time get even more annoyed to such disrespectful statements by Ian Khama.” Khama’s lawyer says the impugned statement was published with the intention to injure his client (Khama) in his personality rights, good name and dignity, further indicating that the statement has damaged his good reputation.

“We have therefore been instructed by Client to demand, as we hereby do, that you publish on the same forum a retraction and a full and unconditional apology to Client within three days of receipt of this letter- and that you deliver such apology in a formal letter to the Office of the Former President, Dr Khama. In the event that you have not compiled with this demand by close of business on Monday 10th May 2021, our Client will assume that you have refused to comply with this demand.”

To top it all off, Khama demands that Peloetletse pay him P1.5 million in damages for defamation. “Furthermore, we hold instructions to demand as we hereby do, that you pay our Client damages for defamation in the sum of P1, 500,000.00 within seven days of receipt of this letter.” In the event that Peloetletse fails to pay the amount of damages demanded by Khama, Tladi says they will institute legal proceedings for the recovery of the aforesaid damages.

In his response letter addressed to Ramalepa Attorneys, Peloetletse said that he requests enlightenment and clarification that he be provided with proof that the allegations and comments which they attribute to him were indeed authored by him and that the platform which the comments were placed was not hacked.

“Please also advise if whether your clients has been endowed with a “special particular privilege status” that restricts the citizens of this country from commenting or responding to public statements made by your client in the course of political discourse especially when made on public forum and relate to matters of general public concern. (I trust that your brilliant legal mind is well informed with respect to the jurisprudence in such matters)”.

Peloetletse also said he would like to share with the attorneys a video which was posted on a public forum. “Please listen carefully to the conversations and discussion herein and advice if possibly such discussions form a reasonable basis for a justifiably rebuttal by any Motswana Citizen to the public pronouncements and defamatory statements made by your client about our government (bearing in mind of course a citizens constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression).’’

Consulted for further comment on the matter on Thursday after receiving Peloetletse’s response, Khama’s attorney Tebogo Tladi said the letter doesn’t hold any water. “The only way out for him is to prove the truth of the allegations on his comment or deny publication. He does not answer substantively to the defamation and does not respond to the demand of an apology or payment of damages.

So his letter really contains largely matters irrelevant to the substance of the letter of demand. His response in fact presents no legally cognizable defence at all- it would appear he responded without the benefit of legal advice, which would not be prudent for such an important case. So we will proceed to issue summons and wait to see what defences he will plead in court.’’

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Inside the multi-million Dollar Kazungula Bridge business

17th May 2021
kazungula bridge

Botswana and Zambia this week celebrated the opening of a multi-million Dollar infrastructural project, the Kazungula Bridge, projected to contribute around P100 million annually for Botswana. This project comes after the signing of the 2012 Agreement between the two countries to construct a bridge that would ease movement of goods.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Kazungula Bridge will open avenues for improved trade, job creation and economic diversification in both countries. Further, the Bridge will significantly accelerate Southern African Development Committee (SADC) regional integration agenda which Botswana and Zambia are vigorously pursuing.

“By growing our strategic partnerships through this project, we have improved the development and competitiveness of our economies to attract more private sector investment, thereby, supporting our efforts to create employment, especially for the burgeoning youth,” Masisi said at the opening ceremony in Kazungula on Monday.

The Kazungula Bridge comprises a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi River, directly linking Botswana and Zambia. It has One-Stop-Border Post facilities on both sides, which will enhance the operational efficiency at entry points, replicated on both sides of the boarder.

The Bridge was originally conceived as a critical link in the African North-South Corridor under the African Union’s New Partnership (NEPAD) for Africa’s Development programme. It has since evolved to encompass a multimodal transport plan under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The PIDA programme, which encompasses liberalisation of air travel, rail links, road, water and all other modes of transport has only one objective: to unite the States of Africa in order to foster trade on the continent

“Connectivity of our nations will in no small measure, promote people to people interactions and uplifts their standard of living. I am pleased to state that the completion of this project is a clear demonstration of our commitment to PIDA.”

The 260 million US Dollar Kazungula Bridge was commissioned by Zambian President, Edgar Lungu and President Masisi. President Lungu said the bridge was a monumental effort linking Zambia internally and externally to ease the movement of goods and services.

“I have held talks with my counterpart in Botswana that this project must run daily up to 22 hours as soon as possible and you the technocrats must not play ping-pong with us after making these public procurements,” Lungu said at the official opening in Kazungula.

For his part, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi said the project was tandem with the Africa Union (AU) goals and priority areas for Agenda 2063 which called for a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

KAZUNGULA FERRY

The new Kazungula Bridge replaces the Kazungula Ferry, a pontoon ferry across the 400-metre-wide Zambezi River between Botswana and Zambia. It was one of the largest ferries in South-Central Africa, having a capacity of 70 tonnes.

In 2003 the ferry was the site of a disaster when a severely overloaded Zambian truck capsized one of the pontoons and 18 people drowned. The accident was blamed on the lack of weighbridges in Zambia to check the weight of trucks.

In August 2007, the governments of Zambia and Botswana announced a deal to construct a bridge at the site to replace the ferry. The existence of a short boundary of about 150 meters between Zambia and Botswana was apparently agreed to during various meetings involving Heads of State and officials from all four States in the 2006-2010 period.

The route for this new bridge crosses the boundary without entering Zimbabwe and Namibia. Zimbabwe already has a bridge into Zambia at Victoria Falls, 70KM from Kazungula. Namibia on the other hand has a bridge into Zambia at Katima Mulilo about 150KM upriver.

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