Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Botswana abets UNDP in ignoring court order

Botswana’s government has reportedly dumped its citizens and joined forces with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), as she plans to apply for the rescinding of a November 2010 Industrial Court order which compelled UNDP to pay former employees owed severance benefits.

UNDP has been refusing to comply with the order, citing diplomatic immunity.

The ruling, delivered by Industrial Court Judge Justice Legwaila, ordered UNDP to pay Puso Kethuse, Geoffrey Masilo and Olivia Adams over P160 000 on or before 31 December 2010.

The UNDP has continued to disregard the order, and efforts by three Deputy Sheriffs to attach and impound UNDP properties have not borne fruit.

This newspaper is informed that UNDP neither defended the application nor bothered to respond to Justice Legwaila’s ruling.

In January, Deputy Sheriff Anelle Van Heerden obtained a writ of execution from the Industrial Court authorizing her to “attach and take into execution UNDP property and cause to be realized by public auction”. By June 2011 she published a notice of sale of execution, in which she attached a Toyota Land Cruiser (registration 06 CD 005), a Nissan Patrol (registration 06 CD 026) and another Land Cruiser (registration 06 CD 007) for auction at Broadhurst Police Station.

But she has since failed to remove the vehicles from UNDP premises. She has since been shuttling between the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Lobatse High Court and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a bid to solve the problem.

Last week, Van Heerden obtained a court order from the Registrar of the High Court Godfrey Nthomiwa instructing the police to assist her to move the said vehicles.

But she hit yet another brick wall as the police informed her that they first have to seek assistance from the AG and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to news reports, government has resolved to apply for Legwaila’s ruling to be rescinded. In a bid to sort out the diplomatic tiff, government intends to rescind the court order to appease UNDP and then try and negotiate a settlement for the owed employees. By Monday some of the owed employees were in an ad-hoc meeting with Van Herdeen to try and chart the way forward.

Meanwhile, the owed employees have been left in limbo as the UNDP continues to disobey the court citing diplomatic immunity.


Read this week's paper