Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Daisy Loo demands P21 million back as convicts walk free

Daisy Loo Botswana and its Judicial Manager, John Hinchliffe, through their lawyers, Mack Bahuma Attorneys, have written to the Directorate of Public Prosecution Director, Leonard Sechele, demanding that the P21 million cheque be released to them.

The letter to the DPP comes in the wake of Gaborone High Court Judge Justice Lackvinda Walia’s judgement setting aside both the conviction and sentence by former Regional Magistrate (south) Justice Banarbas Nyamadzabo in the P21 million case between Daisy Loo and Gaborone City Council.

The six, Frank Molaletsi, Gilbert Sithole, Frank Stegling, Daisy Loo Company, Moemedi Dijeng and Sadi Abey, had appealed the suspended sentence by Justice Nyamadzabo for the bush clearing, tree trimming and grass cutting of the Segoditshane river bed.

“You will, no doubt, be aware that clients were acquitted by the High Court on the 19th April 2013 in the case of Frank Molaletsi and other five others vs The State…” say the lawyers.

The lawyers add that interns of the restraint order, which was granted by the Court of Appeal, the funds (money) which is the subject of the case was to be kept in an interest bearing account under the control of the Auditor General and the DPP until finalisation of the criminal case.

“The criminal matter has been finalised and, as such, client has instructed us to demand, as we hereby do, that the funds be released to Daisy Botswana (Pty) Ltd immediately. We understand from our discussion with Mr. Wesson G Manchwe (of the DPP) that you are considering your options. Such option will include to seek leave to appeal,” Mack Bahuma Attorney say.

The lawyers say that if the DPP were to decide to seek leave to appeal, such decision should not in any way affect the release of the money for the following reasons: you are limited to appeal on questions of law only and you will first have to accept findings of fact.

“The findings by the High Court are quite clear and unassailable. If you are to seek leave to appeal the decision, such will be an academic exercise as it will not affect the findings of fact or the verdict. We are copying this letter to the Attorney General to inform her of the position. Kindly but urgently act accordingly; we await the release of the money,” concludes the letter from Daisy lawyers.

Justice Nyamadzabo, who is now a High Court Judge, had slapped Dijeng, Stegling, Molaletsi and Abey with an 18 months imprisonment sentence wholly suspended for three years for offences ranging from conspiracy to defrauding, obtaining by false pretences and giving false information.

But Justice Walia found that it was evident from the trying court records that Gaborone City Council duly authorised the works along Segoditshane riverbed believing that reduced rates were applicable.
The judge also found that the council perhaps believed that the works would be paid from the contingency provisions but the scope of the work was not properly assessed, hence the former City Clerk expressed shock upon receiving the bill at the tune of P24 million invoice.

Therefore, Justice Walia said he found that the presiding officer’s findings of guilty on the conspiracy charge cannot be sustained and that Sithole, Daisy Loo Company, Dijeng and Abey are entitled to their acquittal and the convictions squashed.

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