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Court intensifies Rapula’s troubles in CMB case

Gaborone High Court Judge Omphemetse Motumise has dismissed with costs Chief Executive Officer of Capital Management Botswana (CMB) Rapula Okaile and further slapped him with another charge of contempt of court on Friday.

Okaile and his wife Neo had approached the court on urgent basis, seeking an order for the release of their eight motor vehicles impounded by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) last month. The applicants’ contention was that their vehicles have been seized without the due process of law such as a warrant or lawful authorization.

Delivering the ruling, Motumise stated that, “I find that the applicants have failed to meet the requirements of urgency. Furthermore, although the application was lodged two days after the vehicles were seized, the applicants have failed to prove that they will not be granted an adequate alternative remedy in due course. They have also failed to establish that the balance of convenience favours them.”

The judge stated that where the impounded vehicles were wrongly seized by the state, the owners thereof have a suite of remedies at their disposal, including among others, restitution; general damages, special damages or the applicants could during the course of investigates simply prove that the vehicles were not proceeds of crime, in which event, they will be released without the need for litigation.  “But the applicants do not say why all these remedies will not be available to them in due course or why they are not suitable remedies.”

He said the purpose for which the impounded vehicles have been seized was to conduct investigations: an assessment of the balance of convenience requires a balancing exercise between the rights and interests of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crime and the right of individuals to enjoy the ownership and possession of their property.

“If the vehicles are released before the conclusion of investigations, this could constitute a severe, if not a fatal blow to the investigations. The questions whether the vehicles were acquired through proceeds of crime would not thereafter be properly or effectively investigated. The respondents will have no guarantee that the vehicles will remain available for investigative purposes, and on the other hand the applicants will have recourse to damages,” ruled the judge, adding that the case favours the

“To express my revulsion and opprobrium at the applicants’ disregard of the order of this court and especially Rapula, I will order punitive costs against them. But this is not enough to send a strong message to the applicants that they need to obey the law and court orders.”
It was then that the judge dealt with the issue concerning the motor vehicle registered under CMB.  The DCEC had submitted that none of the applicants has the authority to claim it since CMB is presently under statutory management pending a judgement due next week. The court had in the previous mention in a matter concerning the appointment of Mr Peter Collins as statutory manager, ruled that Collins’s appointment shall remain effective pending the finalization of the matter.

In law, in view of the said order, the statutory manager is, the only person entitled to institute proceedings on behalf of CMB and not any of the applicants. The applicants however, sought to deflect the point by suggesting that statutory management is not the same as judicial management. Their contention was that the statutory manager deals with the day to day operations of the company while its directors can deal with other matters such as litigation.

Judge Motumise however ruled that, “In the face of the order of this court and the provision, the applicant’s position is disingenuous and I reject it. The applicants have, by openly purporting to act for, or on behalf of CMB, notwithstanding their knowledge of the order of this court, committed an act of contempt of court. Those actions deserve severe and effective censure from this court.” “I express my displeasure at the applicant’s contemptuous conduct and I find them liable, especially Rapula to be cited for contempt of court.”

The DCEC had on their arguments, urged the court to dismiss the application on the basis that leaving the vehicles at the disposal of the applicants has the inherit danger of the vehicles being disposed of, thus defeating the effectiveness of any criminal or civil forfeiture order that the courts may order later.  

An officer of the DCEC, Goitseone Esely stated on a replying affidavit that the DCEC was presently investigating the Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP) into which a commitment of P500m was made by Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) on the inception of the contract between it and CMB in 2014.

CMB is the general manager of BOP where BPOPF is a limited partner and has contributed the sum of P477m to be invested and managed by CMB. There is a reasonable suspicion that some of the funds were diverted to CMB accounts and in turn ended up financing the vehicles owned by WARENTEBO Investment. She stated that the impounded vehicles might have been acquired through proceeds of crime, and that they were seized in the course of lawful investigations under the DCEC Act. 

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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