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Minister Mokgethi’s final report on dead man’s estate rejected

The Minister of Immigration and Gender Affairs, Anna Mokgethi, has seen her final report to comply with court orders rejected amid her reports maintaining that she has complied with the court order.

Lawyers representing the late Abdul Joseph’s granddaughter, Dawn Masenya, have written to the Master of the High Court voicing their rejection of Mokgethi’s final report aimed at accounting for the dead man’s estate.This publication understands that Mokgethi’s lawyers Rahim Khan and Company had written to both the Master and Masenya’s lawyers, Armstrongs Attorneys indicating that she had complied with the court orders and submitted her final report.

But the ink was barely dry on Mokgethi’s letter when Masenya’s lawyers informed the Master that “We are in receipt of Rahim Khan and Company’s letter of 8th October 2021 addressed to the Master’s office,” adding that “The former Executrix has not complied with the Court Orders. The two sets of information (first and second report) provided have been passed to the appointed accountant who is to analyse the same and revert.”

According to Armstrongs, “In the meantime, and without wishing to pre-empt her findings, the following have not been provided (the list is not exhaustive): BBS account no. 2003013985018 statements for December 2015 to May 2016 and details of credit and debit transactions on this account, and other accounts, between date deceased (7th July 2012) and 30th September 2012.”

They argued that call account at Standard Chartered Bank, an account numbered 1500958, the details of the bank account closed by Shereen Pandor in July/August 2012 adding that “We await the ABSA statements, copies of the signatory mandates on the BBS Specials Savings Account and the Barclays/ABSA accounts from the date of deceased to date.”

The letter says the lawyers also await the Department of Veterinary Services’ BATES certificates from 2012 to the expiry date of Mr Joseph’s brand, which expired and was undeclared after his death.The lawyers are also arguing that the financial statements provided for the year ending December 2021, read with preceding financial statements, show that the livestock in the estate has been unchanged for seven years.

“The statement on the livestock does not tally with the most recent or proceeding financial statements. This requires explanation,” adding that they also demand explanation on “accounting on the rentals received in respect of the Mosi farm from cattle Carriers Botswana at P120 00 per a year” as well as the information on “who resides at plot 608 Lobatse which has been substantially renovated from estate funds as well as the status of ownership of plot 3118 Lobatse and the status of ownership of portion 37, Knockduff.”

Armstrongs also demand information on a “certificate for the land within the Mmathethe Sub Land Board area. The destination of the approximately 81 unaccounted for redemption from Black thread’s Stanbic trading account and the Master’s authorities for these redemptions. The mandate and mandates to Black Thread Capital, including its mandate and the Master’s authority for it take over the BBS PUPS and then convert these to equity.”

It also emerges in the letter that copies of the authorities from the Master for payment of legal fees, copies of the invoices and receipts supporting claims by Shereen Pandor and reconciliation of claims of payments to her are missing.

They argue further that information on the persons working as farmworkers, i.e. salaries, periods of service and confirmation of employment, copies of the authorities from the Master for distribution of funds to Shereen Pandor, copies of the authorities from the Master for early executor fees payment to the executrix is also missing.

They also demand evidence of the Capital Bank Corporate Board and the African Alliance Liquidity Fund together with an analysis of the dividends and accrued interest thereon. The lawyers noted that “The incomplete inventory provided is undated thus it cannot be known if it relates to the estate at the time of decease or at the time of accounting. No reconciliation of the transactions conducted on the estate between the date of deceased and the date of accounting has been provided.”

The lawyers also seek explanation from Mokgethi on the “The stated non-registration of the deceased with BURS (Botswana Unified Revenue Services) should have been remedied by the executrix 9 years ago.”

They said the deceased had farming and commercial operations, rental and other incomes and would not have been exempt from tax.Armstrongs attorneys argued that there was no indication of authority from the Master for Shereen Pandor to administrate any portion of the estate.

The lawyers concluded that “the raw and largely unsubstantiated data provided (are) far from meeting obligations under the High Court Order. We have waited since 17th September 2021 for compliance with the Court Order, but it has not been forthcoming.”

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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