Sunday, November 29, 2020

Collins Newman defends Bank of Botswana on fraud allegations

Lawfirm Collins Newman and Co has stood firmly on the side of its client, Bank of Botswana, saying it was not responsible for any unlawful conduct and instead pointing an accusing finger at its associate, attorney Bokani Machinya.

“Our client, the Bank of Botswana, has not been accused of any fraudulent act in the documents before the Court in the mater BANK OF BOTSWANA v EBC GUERNSEY LTD CASE NO: CVHGB-001970-15,” Collins, Newman and Co. said.

 

“As stated in open Court, any unlawful conduct which has occurred in relation to the filling of the notice of appearance in the matter was entirely under the direction of Ms Bokani Machinya, an Associate of this firm,” it added in a statement Thursday.

 

EBC Guernsey following the collapse of the Kingdom Bank dragged BoB before the High Court on allegations of fraud, accusing the regulating body of forging legal documents after failing to file documents for appearance to defend the same.

 

“She was responsible for the conduct of the matter at the relevant time. Accordingly, in our view, no blame or responsibility for any such conduct can or should fall upon our client, Bank of Botswana,” Collins, Newman and Co further said.

 

Although they will not agree on the costs estimated at P27m as demanded by EBC Guernsey, the parties on Wednesday resolved amicably to drop the charges before Judge Zein Kebonang.

While EBC Guernsey sought to be awarded full payment of the bill, BoB dug its heels citing the existing consent order whose costs should be determined after the rescission application.

Collins, Newman and Co said P27m is a high price for its client, but said it was willing to pay the costs of the application and that of EBC Guernsey. EBC Guernsey wanted the costs for the attorney, the counsels and the expert witness to be paid by BoB.

Kebonang said in his verdict that by not contesting the allegations of fraud, BoB was admitting to wrong doing and therefore had to pay all costs.

“Though the allegations were not proven through led evidence, not contesting meant that BoB was admitting to the allegations.  Therefore, it is only fair for them to pay the costs,” he said. 

Collins, Newman and Co. said internal investigations in relation to the conduct of Machinya were ongoing and the necessary disciplinary action against her will follow in due course. The legal firm said it was reviewing the Judgment as it raised issues of concern.

“We will advise our client of the appropriate course of action in due course,” said the law firm.

It further said it would be inappropriate to make any further statement since the matter was before court, and pled with the media to report the matter responsibly and accurately, further expressing hope that the media will not misled the public.

“We reserve our rights to take any action that may be appropriate against any party,” Collins, Newman and Co added.

Application for rescission will be heard on January 25, 2016.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.