Thursday, October 22, 2020

Benito and his lawyer fires another salvo at BFA

Fired ex-Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi has taken his legal wrangle with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) in another direction.

Now he wants to see the leadership that fired him behind bars for dishonouring a court order that instructed that he be furnished with all the relevant document to enable him to defend himself at a disciplinary hearing that was instituted against him

Mamelodi and his lawyer Dutch Leburu are suing the BFA for unfair dismissal and wants the court to set aside the action. 

They also want the names of individuals who took the decision to fire him to be revealed. 

Judge Walia of the High Court on February 20 issued an order that ”the BFA are minded to hold a hearing then certain pre-conditions must be met. The BFA must make available to Mamelodi all documents, reports, ledgers or other documents required by him for purposes of hearing. The documents should be delivered within two weeks and hearing, if it is held, shall commence not later than April 20, 2017”. 

Leburu and his client want the BFA to disclose the names of officers/persons who were responsible for taking the decision to fire him against this court order.  

According to sources close to the BFA leadership, the NEC has never met and took a resolution to fire Mamelodi. 

“BFA president (Mclean Letshwiti) was warned that he should not take the decision alone. This was after he hired the BFA CEO without the consent of the BFA NEC members. We wonder who took the decision to fire him,” a puzzled source explained. 

Leburu further seeks that the officers/persons who were the decision makers in respect thereof be held in contempt of court and that warrant of committal for their imprisonment for 30 days be issued for their defiance of the court order of Walia.

The documents that BFA failed to avail to Mamelodi include completed general ledger, minutes of the BFA NEC meeting which adopted the forensic audit report, minutes of the BPL Board meeting which considered the report and their resolutions, minutes of the audit and Compliance Committee meeting which considered the report and their recommendations and transcripts of witnesses, amongst others.

On March 24, 2017, the BFA NEC met but the BFA president failed to present the forensic audit report. Leburu is contending that the failure by the BFA president to present the report to his NEC colleagues meant that it was never adopted and could not be authentic against Mamelodi. 

According to the court papers, Leburu argues that “the dismissal of Mamelodi by the BFA was procedurally and substantively unfair and consequently wrongful and/or unlawful. 

According to Leburu, his client is entitled to payment of the balance of his contract period from date of termination to end of contract period. 

“Mamelodi is entitled to compensation for the actual pecuniary loss suffered as a result of the wrongful dismissal constituted by his salary from date of dismissal to date of to the end of contract period together with all the necessary inflationary adjustments,” he argues. 

 The BFA had promised to pay him all his dues by April 26, 2017. Surprisingly after the promise Mamelodi was also not paid his April salary and his terminal benefits are also still to be paid. 

Mamelodi started his job as BPL CEO on April 1, 2012 on a six-month contract. He was later given a three-year contract from November 1, 2012 to September 30, 2015. On October 1, 2015 he was given a two-year contract which was scheduled to end on September 30, 2017.

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