Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dingake recuses himself from BFA case

BY DUNCAN KGANGKENNA

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) Disciplinary Committee chairperson, Martin Dingake, is refusing to preside over a case against Tebogo Sebego.

Dingake informed the BFA legal advisor, Tebatso Hule, of his stance.

“I have now had the benefit of reading the Appeals Committee decision on the disciplinary process of Mr. Sebego, as well as the complaint from the BFA President, Mr. Letshwiti. I have since carefully studied both the complaint and judgment and advised myself on this. I find myself in the unenviable position where I must decline to exercise any supervisory role of the investigation concerning this particular complaint,” Dingake wrote as he objected to preside over the “new” old matter.

“The invitation is declined and the matter may be placed before a Chair of another judicial body. I will suggest that you convey these reasons, and indeed bring to the attention of the BFA President” explained Dingake.

Last week Thursday the BFA wrote a letter of complaint against Sebego’s ‘conduct’ in terms of article 116 of the BFA Disciplinary Code.

“Charging Sebego with the same or similar charge he was exonerated from and based on the same facts as when he was charged will contravene the legal rule of double jeopardy,” said a source.

In the complaint, which is allegedly signed by the current BFA president MacLean Letshwiti and dated 4th July 2019, the association complains that Sebego ‘has through his Facebook profile made utterances that we consider to have brought the name of the association, its structures and officials into disrepute contrary to Article 3.7 read together with Article 3.8 and 3.9 of the BFA Code of Conduct…’

The wording of the letter is, word for word, no different from the charges instituted against Sebego, with the only difference being this time around the letter is a complaint and not a call for Disciplinary Hearing.

The DC chairperson, Dingake refused to preside over a new complaint by BFA president over the issues the BFA president lost at the DC and at the BFA Appeals Committee.

The reasons he advanced for refusing to hear the matter, “these are the reasons. Firstly, I sat in judgment, as Chair, in striking out the charges brought against Sebego concerning these very same set of allegations. The Disciplinary Committee did do so on the reasons that the procedure constituted a procedural irregularity.

The decision was upheld as per the judgment or ruling of the Appeal Committee, which you have happily brought to our attention. On the same set of circumstances, facts, allegations and attachments, I am now being required to preside over the investigation of a process I had previously deemed irregular, albeit now seeking compliance” Dingake explained to BFA legal brain.

Dingake further explained that he is constrained to do so (preside over the investigation or coordinate it) having previously expressed his opinion. He said he  do not believe that in good conscience,  he must preside over two parallels of a similar set of facts, although different processes, which in any event, feed into each other and in a sense, complimentary; or even, dispositive of another.

“Secondly, I have previously refused to entertain a complaint from Sebego when he sought to lay a complaint against the BFA President for abuse of office over this matter. I think is wise and in good conscience and within the dictates of justice that I do not spread myself over both processes. Having dealt with the aspect of the matter on proving or disproving the charges, I can’t gather evidence by way of investigation, upon which a charge may or will be laid requiring it to be proved or disproved” explained Dingake.

In the contentious facebook comment Sebego was alleged to have referred to the BFA officials as cowards and a spineless, an evil man who lacks self-esteem. The post the BFA deemed to have contravened the BFA statutes. The complaint was heard by the BFA DC and the BFA lost it. The BFA appealed and the decision from lower body was upheld and Letshwiti was dismissed again.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.