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Friday, 19 April 2024

Kgosi abandons P50 million judgment

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The former Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General who is also its founder, Isaac Kgosi, has in an unexpected twist of events decided to abandon last week’s Judge Zein Kebonang’s order to award him P50 million in damages for the 2019 controversial Hollywood like arrest.

The damages claim of P 50 000 000.00 being an unliquidated amount was to be assessed on the 2nd August 2021.

Kgosi, in court papers seen by this publication, submitted to the registrar, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) lawyers and the Attorney General (representing the other 10 respondents) on the 21st of this month, did not reveal any reason to that effect.

From the papers, Kgosi’s lawyers, Thabiso Tafila Attorneys briefly submitted; “Be pleased to take notice that the 1st respondent (Kgosi) having barred and obtained judgment against the 1st applicant (BURS) and 2nd applicant (Kaone Molapo-BURS General Manager Compliance) and desirous of obtaining finality in the proceedings before court hereby abandons his judgment in his favour on the 12th July 2021.”

There are no reasons backing up this decision, but highly placed sources hint that the idea is to focus on what looks like an easy catch – a forgery case in which some government institutions connived to forge Palapye Magistrate Rebecca Motsamai’s signature to obtain a warrant of arrest to apprehend Kgosi.

In the judgment Kgosi is now abandoning, BURS is accused of failing to have provided further and better particulars to the plaintiff by 16 July 2021.

It was then ordered that defendants having failed to file and deliver their plea are now barred from  doing so, judgment is entered in favour of the plaintiff with costs.

Those close to the twist and turns of the developments say, Kgosi is aware of the insurmountable task he is facing with BURS. Furthermore, it is said even in his calculations he is mindful that when the P50 million he was awarded was going for examination he was never going to come up with a third of that amount.

BURS who have since applied for Justice Kebonang to recuse himself on the matter is confident that Kgosi evaded tax in the affected years of 2008 to 2019. In their court papers, BURS have chronicled Kgosi’s tax transgression for 10 years. BURS maintain that Kgosi was willfully defaulting to pay tax while on other occasions submitted false tax returns.

TAX YEAR 2008-2010

According to BURS documents filed at the courts, Kgosi did not declare other income for tax purposes which were later discovered through a review of the bank deposits made by his different associates. A payment of P45, 000 was made to Collins Newman & Co for the purpose of Sentlhane farm. “In the result, a total income of P155, 000.00 is determined to have been derived and not disclosed and declared by Kgosi. He is obliged to have declared the other income in the tax year and pay resultant tax of P19, 625.00,” read court papers submitted by BURS.

The tax man cautioned the former spy boss that failure to disclose and declare this income, it attracted a penalty of P39, 250 charged at the rate of 200% on the tax that has been lost to the Commissioner General owing to Kgosi’s willful default.

In the tax year 2009, another payment of P400, 000.00 was made to the same law firm for the purchase of Sentlhane farm. It is said, a total income of P698, 197.75 is determined to have been derived and not disclosed. Kgosi is obliged to have declared the other income in the tax year and pay the resultant tax of P155, 424.44.  Failure to declare this income attracted a penalty of P310, 848.88.

The trend continued even in 2010 where transactions of P687, 281. 29 and P22, 600.00 were made to Collins Newman & Co for the purchase of Sentlhane farm. This resulted in a total income of P1, 187,018.84 to have been derived and not disclosed and declared whereby Kgosi could have declared the other income and pay tax amounting to P277, 629. 71. This has now left Kgosi with a penalty of P555, 259. 42.

TAX YEAR 2011

In this year, BURS in its affidavit says cash payments were made to BH Botswana for generators and could also not trace employment income amounting to P70, 000. 00. It is further added that there were various deposits in the bank statements including K Binns and L.T. & Associates amounting to P184, 000. 00. In the result, a total income of P254, 000. 00 was not disclosed and derived and therefore is obliged to pay tax of P44, 375. 00.   Failure to disclose and declare the above income has attracted a penalty of P88, 750.00.

TAX YEAR 2013

Here, it surfaced that Kgosi had other income streams that were discovered through review of payments made for school fees, boreholes and small stock purchase and Skip Hire cash payments for water. It later came out that he had a total income of P1, 682, 982. 53 which was not declared and could have paid a tax of P558, 635. 53. Defaulting to pay has now invited a penalty of P841, 491. 26.

TAX YEAR 2014

Kgosi’s other undeclared income for tax purposes were exposed by review of payments of school fees, transportation at PCJ Motors, payment at Skip Hire and sale of cattle at Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), BURS says in court papers.

It later came out that an income of P844, 532. 00 was concealed which could have seen tax amounting to P353, 280. 35 being paid. This has seen a cumulative penalty of P422, 266. 18 awaiting the former spy boss.

TAX YEAR 2015

BURS while sniffing for malpractice on Kgosi managed to uncover that he had a total income of P2, 225, 413. 55 from review of payments for school fees, transportation ay PCJ Motors, amounts to buy a car at Lesedi Motors and other various deposits into bank accounts. The undeclared income could have Kgosi paying a resultant tax of P710, 411. 88 and now it has escalated to P 1, 112, 706. 74.

TAX YEAR 2016

School fees at Northside Primary School and PCJ motors transportation allowed the tax man to unearth income of P128, 270.00 which were not declared. The income would have attracted a tax of P58, 047. 37, however refusal to disclose the income and payment of the subsequent tax now has Kgosi owing BURS P64, 135.00.

TAX YEAR 2017

Review of payments made again for the above school fees, generator at BH Botswana, transportation at PCJ cash payments for livestock and various bank deposits, also exposed Kgosi’s total income of P2, 052, 402. 40. A resultant tax of P724, 281. 15 could have been paid but failure to do so has attracted a penalty of P1, 558, 105.35 which the tax body has lost due to the willful lodgment of incorrect tax return.

TAX YEAR 2018

The school fees payment appear again in this tax year, with the generator acquisition, payments of livestock, various bank deposits, payments for two DAF trucks ordered from UK, a Nissan Truck purchased by Bash Carriers from Nuco Auctioneers SA, and directors remuneration from Silver Shadows.

In the results a total income Of P1, 415, 176. 85 which was not disclosed. If the amount could have wilfully declared a tax of P501, 887.95 would have been settled. Failure to declare this income has attracted a penalty of P711, 157.74.

TAX YEAR 2019

In this year, there was no employment income assessed as he was relieved of his duties as DIS boss in preceding year. However, BURS says other income from other sources evidenced by school fees payment, cash payment to Furniture Paradise, transportation by PCJ Motors, sale of livestock to BMC and sale of Forex was assessed.

In the result, a total income of P1, 829, 320. 77 is determined to have been derived by Kgosi in the tax year and a resultant tax of P434, 380.19 and penalty of P868, 760. 38 were raised.

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Nigerians, Zimbabweans apply for Chema Chema Fund

16th April 2024

Fronting activities, where locals are used as a front for foreign-owned businesses, have been a long-standing issue in Botswana. These activities not only undermine the government’s efforts to promote local businesses but also deprive Batswana of opportunities for economic empowerment, officials say. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has warned of heavy penalties for those involved in fronting activities especially in relation to the latest popular government initiative dubbed Chema Chema.

According to the Ministry, the Industrial Development Act of 2019 clearly outlines the consequences of engaging in fronting activities. The fines of up to P50,000 for first-time offenders and P20,000 plus a two-year jail term for repeat offenders send a strong message that the government is serious about cracking down on this illegal practice. These penalties are meant to deter individuals from participating in fronting activities and to protect the integrity of local industries.

“It is disheartening to hear reports of collaboration between foreigners and locals to exploit government initiatives such as the Chema Chema Fund. This fund, administered by CEDA and LEA, is meant to support informal traders and low-income earners in Botswana. However, when fronting activities come into play, the intended beneficiaries are sidelined, and the funds are misused for personal gain.” It has been discovered that foreign nationals predominantly of Zimbabwean and Nigerian origin use unsuspecting Batswana to attempt to access the Chema Chema Fund. It is understood that they approach these Batswana under the guise of drafting business plans for them or simply coming up with ‘bankable business ideas that qualify for Chema Chema.’

Observers say the Chema Chema Fund has the potential to uplift the lives of many Batswana who are struggling to make ends meet. They argue that it is crucial that these funds are used for their intended purpose and not siphoned off through illegal activities such as fronting. The Ministry says the warning it issued serves as a reminder to all stakeholders involved in the administration of these funds to ensure transparency and accountability in their disbursement.

One local commentator said it is important to highlight the impact of fronting activities on the local economy and the livelihoods of Batswana. He said by using locals as a front for foreign-owned businesses, opportunities for local entrepreneurs are stifled, and the economic empowerment of Batswana is hindered. The Ministry’s warning of heavy penalties is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate fronting activities and promote a level playing field for local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s warning of heavy penalties for fronting activities is a necessary step to protect the integrity of local industries and promote economic empowerment for Batswana. “It is imperative that all stakeholders comply with regulations and work towards a transparent and accountable business environment. By upholding the law and cracking down on illegal activities, we can ensure a fair and prosperous future for all Batswana.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark World Health Day 2024

15th April 2024

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks “World Health Day” 2024 together with Africa’s First Ladies who are also Ambassadors of MerckFoundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign through their Scholarship and Capacity Building Program. Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark World Health Day every single day of the year over the past 12 years, by building healthcare capacity and transforming patient care across Africa, Asia and beyond.

I am proud to share that Merck Foundation has provided over 1740 scholarships to aspiring young doctors from 52 countries, in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility specialty, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Cardiology, Stroke Medicine, Care of the Older Person, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health, Obesity & Weight Management, Women’s Health, Biotechnology in ART and many more”.

As per the available data, Africa has only 34.6% of the required doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is projected that by 2030, Africa would need additional 6.1 million doctors, nurses, and midwives*. “For Example, before the start of the Merck Foundation programs in 2012; there was not a single Oncologist, Fertility or Reproductive care specialists, Diabetologist, Respiratory or ICU specialist in many countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Namibia among others. We are certainly creating historic legacy in Africa, and also beyond. Together with our partners like Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Gender, Education and Communication, we are impacting the lives of people in the most disadvantaged communities in Africa and beyond.”, added Senator Dr. Kelej. Merck Foundation works closely with their Ambassadors, the African First Ladies and local partners such as; Ministries of Health, Education, Information & Communication, Gender, Academia, Research Institutions, Media and Art in building healthcare capacity and addressing health, social & economic challenges in developing countries and under-served communities. “I strongly believe that training healthcare providers and building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to equitable and quality at health care in Africa.

Therefore, I am happy to announce the Call for Applications for 2024 Scholarships for young doctors with special focus on female doctors for our online one-year diploma and two year master degree in 44 critical and underserved medical specialties, which includes both Online Diploma programs and On-Site Fellowship and clinical training programs. The applications are invited through the Office of our Ambassadors and long-term partners, The First Ladies of Africa and Ministry of Health of each country.” shared Dr . Kelej. “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program”, concluded Senator Kelej.

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Interpol fugitive escapes from Botswana

15th April 2024

John Isaak Ndovi, a Tanzanian national embroiled in controversy and pursued under a red notice by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), has mysteriously vanished, bypassing a scheduled bail hearing at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court in Gaborone. Previously apprehended by Botswana law enforcement at the Tlokweng border post several months earlier, his escape has ignited serious concerns.

Accused of pilfering assets worth in excess of P1 million, an amount translating to roughly 30,000 Omani Riyals, Ndovi has become a figure of paramount interest, especially to the authorities in the Sultanate of Oman, nestled in the far reaches of Asia.

The unsettling news of his disappearance surfaced following his failure to present himself at the Extension 2 Magistrate Court the preceding week. Speculation abounds that Ndovi may have sought refuge in South Africa in a bid to elude capture, prompting a widespread mobilization of law enforcement agencies to ascertain his current location.

In an official communiqué, Detective Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Selebatso Mokgosi of Interpol Gaborone disclosed Ndovi’s apprehension last September at the Tlokweng border, a capture made possible through the vigilant issuance of the Interpol red notice.

At 36, Ndovi is implicated in a case of alleged home invasion in Oman. Despite the non-existence of an extradition treaty between Botswana and Oman, Nomsa Moatswi, the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), emphasized that the lack of formal extradition agreements does not hinder her office’s ability to entertain extradition requests. She highlighted the adoption of international cooperation norms, advocating for collaboration through the lenses of international comity and reciprocity.

Moatswi disclosed the intensified effort by law enforcement to locate Ndovi following his no-show in court, and pointed to Botswana’s track record of extraditing two international fugitives from France and Zimbabwe in the previous year as evidence of the country’s relentless pursuit of legal integrity.

When probed about the potential implications of Ndovi’s case on Botswana’s forthcoming evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Moatswi reserved her speculations. She acknowledged the criticality of steering clear of blacklisting, suggesting that this singular case is unlikely to feature prominently in the FATF’s assessment criteria.

 

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