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Kgosi abandons P50 million judgment

Isaac Kgosi

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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Mental health concern amid COVID-19 pandemic 

24th September 2021
Mental Health

With the advent of COVID-19, mental health and psychosocial has become a major concern around the world. There is   significant increase in the rates of stress, anxiety and depression globally.

In creating awareness and support on mental health and psychosocial support, the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP) hosted a virtual regional mental health and Psychosocial Support Forum (MHPSS).

The MHPSS Forum brings together stakeholders from different sectors providing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services particularly to children, youth, families and the workforce, as well as Academia, International Cooperating Partners, Community Implementing Partners and the media.

It aims to facilitate learning, information exchange and advocacy to promote mainstreaming of Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (PSS) into policies, programmes, services and funding priorities for children and youth in Botswana.

The event is a partnership between The Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP), and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), with Project Concern International Botswana (PCI) and Marang Child Care Network Trust (MCCNT).

The event is held every two years, and Botswana started hosting the Forum in 2014. The theme for this year is ‘Innovate, Integrate, Thrive,’ which prompts us to find new ways to survive the COVID-19 pandemic which we can mainstream into our daily activities.

The Northern Regional Forum in Mahalapye was held on 17-19 August 2021 while the Southern Regional Forum  in  Ghanzi, was  from 21-23 September 2021. Findings from both regions will be presented at the National Forum to be held in Kasane on 12-14 October 2021. The event is held in collaboration with local authorities in each region.

The event is structured in this manner: The first day is a Special Session for Children, where children in the region will talk about the challenges they face that affect their mental health, how they cope and what they think can be done to support them.

The second day is the official opening where the lead ministry gives a keynote address, and presentations from service providers in the region. The third and last day is abstract presentations from different speakers on thematic areas under the theme.

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GMES & Africa Southern Africa to hold a Regional Stakeholder Workshop on Earth Observation Technologies

24th September 2021
GMESAfrica

The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will hold a Hybrid GMES and Africa Regional workshop from 27 – 29 September 2021, at Safari Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia.

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) Initiative is a programme formed out of mutual cooperation between Africa and Europe with a focus on Earth Observation (EO) systems.

It was formed to respond to the global need to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security by providing information to policymakers, scientists, private sector and the public. GMES and Africa aims to promote development of local capacities, institutional, human and technical resources for access to and exploitation of Earth Observation (EO) based services on an operational basis for sustainable development in Africa.

In its first phase, GMES has funded 13 consortiums in Africa. In Southern African, SASSCAL-led consortia is implementing the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins in Southern Africa (WeMAST) Project while CSIR is leading the Marine and Coastal Operations for Southern Africa (MARCO[1]South). SASSCAL Members of the consortium include the University of Botswana, University of Zambia, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of the Western Cape and Midlands State University, South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Zambia.

CSIR led consortium includes ABALOBI, Benguela Current Convention, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, National Sea Rescue Institute, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eduardo Mondlane and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association).

The workshop will also provide an opportunity to promote and encourage mutual exchanges in terms of sharing best practices, knowledge and experiences as well as allow for the exchange of information and knowledge on new and innovative Earth Observation technologies developed under the programmes and their alignment with the region’s sustainable development strategies.

The workshop will also reveal trends in the use of earth observation data to monitor and assess wetland conditions, threats to sustainable utilisation of wetland resources as well as updating stakeholders on how climate change variability and drought is continually affecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s surface water resources.

The workshop’s envisaged outcomes will be to ensure shared knowledge and understanding of the new and innovative Earth Observation technologies, and their application to society. Expected to visit is a broader pool of international delegates from the two continents (Europe and Africa) both physically and virtual.

This includes the member countries policy makers, line ministers from the SADC countries, public and private sector stakeholders, implementers, Basin Commissions, researchers, and any other stakeholders whose activities are related to coastal areas, rivers, and their ecosystems.

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Vendors ready for the Tobacco Control Bill

21st September 2021
Vendors

Some vendors have been misled
Vendors thrive on households goods and fresh produce

Despite the previous false allegations that the Tobacco Control Bill will lead to several 20 000 vendors across the country losing their jobs, several local vendors have expressed that they are ready for the bill and because vendors sell mostly household goods

“This is something that we openly accept and receive as street vendors, the problem is some of our counterparts were misled and made to believe that we will not be allowed to sell cigarettes on our stalls.

Some of us got to understand that the bill states that we have to be licensed to sell cigarettes, we are not supposed to sell them to children under the age of 18 years of age and eliminating the selling of single sticks. We understand that this agenda is meant to develop a healthy nation but not take us down,” said Mbimbi Tau a vendor who operates from Mogoditshane.

The Tobacco Control Bill has been passed in several countries and street vendors are operating properly without any challenges faced. Tau further mentioned that there is no way that the Tobacco Control Bill will affect their business operations, all they have to do as vendors are to get the required documentation and do what the bill requires.

Another vendor Busani Selalame who operates from Gaborone Bonnington North was not shy to express his support towards the Tobacco Control Bill, “the problem is that some people within our sector have been misled and now they think that the bill is meant to take our operations down and completely stop selling cigarettes.

I support the fact that we are not supposed to sell cigarettes to children who are under the age of 18 years of age this has always been wrong, as parents we should be cautious of such and ensure that our children are disassociated with cigarettes,” said Selalame.

The Tobacco Control Bill prohibits advertising, promotion and sponsorship by the tobacco industry to prevent messages, cues, and other inducements to begin using tobacco, especially among the youth, to reassure users to continue their use, or that otherwise undermine quitting.

Renowned economist Bakang Ntshingane is of the view that since vendors sell household goods and fresh produce they are likely to keep on making profits despite what the Tobacco Control Bill comes with. He further stated that the Tobacco Control Bill will not be of harm on the local economy since the country does not manufacture or produce any tobacco related products.

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