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How CEDA was defrauded P1.7 million

Counterfeit business land certificate was used to lure CEDA

The loan awarding agency, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) was successfully defrauded of P1.7 million under dubious circumstances, WeekendPost can reveal. It is understood that on submitting the grim and demanding CEDA application form, an applicant lied about possessing a business plot. It turned out that a counterfeit land certificate was used to deceive CEDA to award the loan.

This publication has gathered that had CEDA known about the unscrupulous act of shady dealings, they would have not awarded the loan to the applicant. Investigations conducted by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that the accused person, Lesedi Lillian Karanja on 6th December 2002, in Maun, fraudulently obtained a Certificate of Customary Land Grant, issued under Section 16 of the Tribal Land Act, purporting that the said Certificate was issued to her by Tawana Land Board whereas in the contrary Tawana Land Board never issued such a Certificate.

Information passed to this publication further indicates that the accused induced attorney Roger Callender to cause a Registrars Seal of the office upon a paper titled “Notorial Deed of Cession of Lease by Lesedi Karanja in favour of Star Point (Proprietary) Limited in respect of Tribal LOT 2728, Maun”, in order that it may be afterwards dealt with as a valuable security.

“As such the valuable security was dealt with by CEDA to issue a Mortgage loan to Star Point (Proprietary) in the sum of P 1,701 000.00 (One Million Seven Hundred and One Thousand Pula), something which CEDA would not have done had the true facts been known to them,” documents which this publication is in possession of, state.

The documents state that on the second count, the accused person, Lesedi Lillian Karanja and her company, Star Point (Proprietary), which is a corporate body registered as such under the Laws of Botswana, on the 3rd of July 2011, at Francistown, acting jointly and in consent, wilfully procured for the, registration of a Tittle Deed, in respect of Lot 2728, Maun.  

According to the DCEC charge sheet, the matter ended up in court and the  45 year old business woman was arraigned before Maun Magistrate Mompati Taolo recently and was charged with  two counts of Obtaining by False Pretences, contrary to section 314, of the Penal Code (Cap 08:01) Laws of Botswana.

The plea was reserved and the accused persons will appear in court next month – on the 23rd of July 2015. Belida Oaitse of the Directorate on Public Prosecutions (DPP) appeared for the state and the accused, was represented by Wanano Lumbile of the Lumbile legal practitioners.

In an interview with the Weekend Post, DCEC Spokesperson, Nlayidzi Gambule confirmed that indeed CEDA got swindled of P1.7 million by Karanja. The DCEC spokesperson stated that land issue is one of the hitches of distress faced by the corruption busting agency.

“We recognized problems in the land administration that include double allocation of the same plot, counterfeit land certificates, fraudulent allocation, bribery, abuse of office and deviant conduct due to the unrestrained interaction with land applications who desperately need land and have the means to bribe,”  Nlayidzi asserted.

Meanwhile, there are growing complaints in some quarters of the society that the corruption busting agency pitifully targets the small man on the street and that when it comes to a big fish the matters are usually not charged and/or lost at the courts of law on ‘technicalities’ – a concern which has also reached the DCEC office.

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Transgender persons in Botswana live a miserable life

23rd November 2020
Transgender persons

An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.

In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.

In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.

Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.

More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.

At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.

The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).

Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).

International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.

In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”

The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”

According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.

In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.

The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.

LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.

“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.

Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.

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Khato Civils fights back, dares detractors

23rd November 2020

CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”

Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.

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UDC petitioners turn to Saleshando

23rd November 2020
Dumelang Saleshando

About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.

For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.

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