Thursday, July 7, 2022

Criminal investigations against Justice Walia ongoing

Fresh information shows that criminal investigations against Court of Appeal judge Lakhvinder Singh Walia following allegations of conflict of interest are still ongoing.

The Director on Corruption and Economic Crime Directorate General Tymon Katholo has confirmed that the matter is still under investigation.

Katholo was responding to a query made by director of Tours of Africa, Again Pachawo. In a letter addressed to Katholo dated 4th June 2021, Pachawo asked for “feedback on the criminal complaint case for conflict of interest against Justice Lakhvinder Sigh Walia.”

“To avoid mixing up issues even though the complaints by these different parties are against the same judge, please kindly respond to the matter specifically reported by Tours of Africa which is separate from the one reported by Don Gaetsaloe and Moreri Mariri.”

In his response dated 10th June 2021, Katholo said, “reference is made to the matter in which Tours of Africa Company reported allegations of corruption and or improper motive exhibited by Walia in relation to the case in a letter dated 4th June 2021.”

He added that, “This matter is still under investigation. We are therefore hamstrung in giving you conclusive feedback,” adding that, “Thank you for contribution in the fight against corruption.”

The investigation followed a complaint by a local company Tours of Africa. “I’m writing this to express our discontent in particular the manner at which the said Justice has conducted himself and his conflict of interest in the matter involving Tours of Africa (Pty) Vs Regent Insurance Botswana Limited…” the company wrote.

In his complaints Tours of Africa said the judge is a former partner at Armstrong attorneys and was a former shareholder before he left to join the high court bench.

The company through Again Pachwo said the judge’s wife is still employed by Armstrong attorneys as a personal assistant to John Carr-Hartley, his personal lawyer.

Walia was again accused of conflict of interest following his involvement as part of a panel of CoA judges in a case that pitted African Alliance and two of its former employees, former CEO Don Gaetsaloe and Moarabi Mariri, a Senior Sales Executive.

African Alliance was represented by Armstrong’s Attorneys where, the two former employees argued.

On or about July 2019 leading to January 2020 which was during the time the parties were litigating it was also unearthed that there was a monetary transaction of P1,800,000.00 (One Million Eight Hundred thousand Pula) in which the same law firm (Armstrong Attorneys) represented Justice Walia.

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