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Dada and BURS brawl over P12 million

Botswana Democratic Party’s long-time treasurer, Satar Dada’s prime enterprise, Motor Centre Botswana is locked in a Court of Appeal case wherein he wants the Supreme Court of the land to declare him as not liable to pay P12.2 million of income tax.

Dada is appealing his case which was dismissed by Justice Godfrey Radijeng at the High Court in Lobatse in March of 2016. Before taking the case to the courts of law, Dada’s appeal was dismissed by Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) Board of Adjudicators.

The case dates back as far as 2008 when Motor Centre had written to BURS seeking clarity on how it was to treat the tax consequences of losses it had incurred in its dealings with Lobatse Cash stores and Lobtrans which are owned by a certain Mr Asmal. Asmal is described as a member of the local Muslim community and was known to the Dadas.

Motor Centre’s dealings with Lobtrans started by way of Asmal’s third company called ASA Bureau de Change which dealt in foreign currency. Because Motor Centre, a Toyota franchise, buys vehicles and parts in South Africa on a weekly basis, Toyota South Africa required that it be paid in South African rands when it was paid on a monthly basis.

Motor Centre would usually acquire the rands from its bankers in advance so as to fix its Pula costs for its own pricing. The rate offered by Motor Centre’s bankers was a corporate exchange rate. After the rands were acquired they would then be paid into Motor Centre’s FNB rand account and thereafter payment would be made to Toyota South Africa.

In 2008, Motor Centre started acquiring the rands from Asmal and what would transpire on a monthly basis was that Motor Centre would pay Lobatse Cash Stores (LCS) Pula amount by way of cheque drawn in Pula to LCS in order to purchase the South African rand.
LCS would simultaneously give Motor Centre a 30 day post-dated cheque drawn in South African rands at a rate more favourable than that offered by the banks on a corporate rate, usually 2 to 4 cents per Pula.

Motor Centre would then hold the post-dated cheque until the end of the 30 day period when it would receive payment into its FNB rand account, whereupon it would return the post-dated cheque to LCS. Dada’s court papers further state that the apparent reason that Asmal could offer a better rate than the banks was that he achieved early settlement discounts in South Africa on his fuel purchases as he was a distributor of fuel for BP Botswana.

Dada further states that when this relationship started in 2003 the monthly Pula purchases of rands was in the region of P3 million but by 2006 the figure had multiplied to between P10 and P12 million. However, at the beginning of 2007 Lobtrans, LCS and Motor Centre entered into an agreement where the latter would invest R50 million into Lobtrans for a period of 12 months and Motor Centre was to make the payment to LCS.

Motor Center was then given Lobtrans fleet of tankers and trailers as security. The papers continue to state that thereafter, Motor Centre sold its excess rands to FNB in Gaborone where it made a profit. They further state that towards the end of 2007 the relationship with Asmal came to an unhappy end and the usual payment for the December 2007 purchase was not made at the beginning of January.

Dada’s papers further state that Motor Centre brought to account an amount of close to P54 million as a loss for the year ended in August 2008. The papers further indicate that initially BURS allowed the deduction of the loss in its assessment of Motor Centre’s tax liability for the 2009 tax year. They continue to state that however, in a later assessment dated December 6th 2011 BURS disallowed the loss in assessing the income for the 2009 tax year and that’s when the tax dispute exceeded the sum of P12, 4 million.

Dada also argues that the Board of Arbitrators misdirected itself in its judgement. He states that it was the duty of the board to ascertain the legal nature of the transaction that occurred to which the taxation laws are to be applied. “ By defining the issue the way they did, the board ignored entirely the doctrine of substance over form,” he states.

However, the Commissioner General of BURS states in the responding affidavit that Motor Centre was let down by Yusuf Dada who signed an agreement without paying necessary attention to the content. “It is a matter of common knowledge that a person who signs a contractual document thereby signifies his assent to the contents of the documents, and if these subsequently turn out not to be to his liking he has no one to blame but himself.

“This is even more so if one decides not to read the document prior to signature. Mr Yusuf Dada exhibited his assent to the contents of the written agreement by way of signature,” BURS states.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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