Friday, May 20, 2022

Court orders auction of Attorney General

Gaborone High Court Justice Key Dingake has ordered that the Attorney General’s Chambers property be sold under the hammer following failure to comply with a court order in a case in which Sedudu company had been awarded a P 4 million compensation. In the writ of execution, Dingake ordered that the deputy sheriff should “attach and take into execution the movable goods of the Honourable Attorney General for the Republic of Botswana in her capacity as legal representative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Department of Roads).”

Initially Dingake had ordered Roads Department to pay Sedudu (Pty) Ltd over P4 million following a dispute over a breach of contract. However the government did not comply with the court order.

The dispute arose from a project which was awarded by the Roads Department to Sedudu for the construction of the upgrading of drainage works in Mathubudkuwane village.

Sedudu was informed through a later dated 24th January 2012 that the Department of Roads was withdrawing its letter of acceptance to an offer earlier made by Sedudu.

According to the letter, “the Department’s decision to withdraw the acceptance letter sent to Sedudu (Pty) ltd on the 29th July 2008 and subsequently accepted the offer on 30th July 2008 to date still stands. This is because the contractor has not fulfilled the requirements of the contract even though several letters of warning to terminate the contract has been sent.” It also emerged that Roads Department had also demanded that Sedudu Pty Ltd should furnish it with the performance security as per the specifics of the tender.

But Sedudu argued that it had obliged to the requirement and engaged Kelly Phala as the arbitrator. The contractor also wrote a letter to Roads Department advising that it should retract and withdraw the letter as they viewed that as a breach of the contract.

Legally, Phala found that an acceptance cannot be withdrawn. “It is trite law that an offer (in this case having been made by Sedudu and accepted by Roads Department can indeed be withdrawn and revoked before it is accepted,” said Phala. Such an offer by Sedudu was never withdrawn at any stage, said Phala.

Phala found that a valid contract had been entered into and ought to have been brought to an end in a judicious, equitable and fair manner.

Phala’s final findings were that the Roads Department breached the terms of the contract and that Sedudu (Pty) ltd suffered damages to this anomaly. Through their attorneys, Sedudu made an application before the High Court and Justice Dingake ordered that the award to Sedudu made by Phala be enforced as a judgement of the court.


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