Saturday, May 30, 2020

Court convicts all in Daisy Loo saga

After years pending before magistrates’ courts, the Daisy Loo criminal case in which four Gaborone City Council employees were facing charges of attempting to defraud the Gaborone City Council (GCC) of P24 million, has finally come to a conclusion, with all accused being convicted.

In count one of conspiracy to defraud, Frank Molaletsi and Frank Stegling were not found guilty whilst Gilbert Sithole, Saddie Abbey, and the Managing Director of Daisy Loo, Moemedi Dijeng and his company, were found guilty.

On second count of obtaining by false pretence, only Daisy Loo and Dijeng were convicted.
The third count was done away with whilst on the last count, of giving false information to a public employee, Molaletsi, Sithole and Stegling were convicted.

Convicting the accused persons, Magistrate Nyamazabo said that he had no doubt that the state had proved its case against the accused beyond doubt.

Concerning the bush clearing on area D, which forms the center of the dispute, he said that it had been established beyond doubt that the area did not include Segoditshane River bed as was claimed by, amongst others, Dijeng and some of the accused GCC employees.

Nyamazabo said that what had been proven in Court is that the area physically falls within area D but that it was not included in the tender.

This point, he said, was made clear by, amongst others, the former GCC clerk, Margret Mabua, who he said told the Court that she never gave anybody permission to include Segoditshane River bed in the tender. Further that she was surprised when Dijeng presented her with a receipt demanding to be paid P24m, which included work done on Segoditshane River bed.

Nyamadzabo said the issue was again brought to the Court’s attention by one former GCC engineer who told the Court that he knew Segoditshane River bed to be an ecosystem area, which belonged to Water Affairs Department and that they had, in the past, been denied to use it by the Department.
He, however, accepted the defence submission on the issue of Segoditshane River bed being riddled with contradictions as one state witness had given contradictory statements on whether there had been lawful or unlawful instructions on the issue.

On the letters which were written to Daisy Loo by Abbey authorizing it to start work on Segoditshane River bed, Nyamazabo said that it had been proven that the letters were written, illegally as Mabua, who was the GCC clerk, said that she had not authorized their writing and that even Sithole whom Abbey said had authorized her to write the letters, had denied doing so.

He also said that Sithole had not told employees of the GCC who were querying why Daisy Loo was continuing with its tender work whilst other companies had been stopped on grounds that the Council did not have funds.

He also said that Sithole and Abbey had played a major role in the conspiracy to defraud the Council.

On count four of giving public servant false information, Nyamadzabo said that GCC’s Finance and Accounts Committee was given false information regarding a tender which was awarded to Call a Skip at a higher price when it had tendered for a lower price and another tender which was awarded to SA Skippers at a lower price when it had tendered for a higher price which resulted with the tenders being withdrawn.

All the four accused persons are currently on bail and are expected back in court on November 4.
Susan Mangori and Wesson Mantswe were prosecuting while the accused were represented by defence lawyers Duma Boko, Unoda Mack and Tebogo Sebego.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.