Monday, October 25, 2021

Former legislator reads BIUST a lecture over bills

Former Minister and Ambassador to United States of America, Tebelelo Seretse has written   to the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUITS) demanding unpaid rental, water and electricity bills for the house she had leased to the university in Palapye.

Seretse’s house was rented out to BUIST’s former Vice Chancellor Professor Hillary Inyang until 2015 when he parted ways with the troubled university.

Seretse’s attorneys, Chibanda & Makgalemele Attorneys state that as a term of the agreement BUIST was to pay rental at a rate of P31 500.00 per month inclusive of 5 percent withholding tax. The rental was to be paid monthly in advance on the first day of each month and was subject to an escalation at a rate of 10 percent annum for the duration of the lease. BUIST was also required to pay a security deposit of P31 500 being the equivalent of one month’s rental plus 5 percent withholding tax.

The deposit amount was refundable on the expectation or termination of the lease, “provided that the lessee shall have fulfilled its obligations in terms of the lease agreement.”

In terms of the agreement, BUITS was required to advise their clients of any defects on the property within a period of 14 days of taking occupation. BUIST duly took occupation of the property in November 2013 and became liable for rental, the lawyers say.

They state that BUIST failed to pay rental timeously and fell into arrears. During May 2014, following an exchange of correspondence Seretse agreed to waive rental for the month of November 2013 with the result that rentals payable from BUIST were to be calculated with effect from 1st December 2013.

“The rental due to our client from BUSIT for the period 1st December 2013 to October 2014 was P329 175 00 made up as follow P31 000. 00 per month 11 months = P346 500 less withholding tax of 5 percent (P17 325.00) which gives a total of P3 29 178.00,” state the lawyers.

The added that “The rental due to our client from BUIST for the period 1st November 2014 to 30 April 2015was P197 505.00 made up as follows P34 50.00 per month x 6 months=P207 900.00 less withholding tax of 5 percent (P10 00 395.00) which gives a total of P197 505 .00.”

The lawyers explained that the total amount due for the period of lease was therefore P558 180.00 and of this amount BUIST paid the sum of P359 622.32. BUIST therefore, the lawyers say, is indebted to Seretse in the sum of P198 557.68 being the difference between P558 180.00 and P359 622.32.

“We are instructed that BUST gave notice of termination of lease and vacated the property on 30th April 2015. At the time of vacating the property our client agreed to purchase from BUIST certain improvements effected to the property at an agreed value of P24 915.93,” reads the letter in part.

They say it was agreed that the amount was to be offset from the amount due from BUIST as rental. Accordingly, they say, BUIST is entitled to a reduction in the amount owed by it to our client in the sum of P24 915.93.

Per clause of the Lease Agreement, BUIST was liable to pay for utilities being telephone charges, water and electricity.

“At the time of vacating the property, water and electricity bills were unpaid.  Our client is still trying to establish the exact amount due and owing as electricity and this amount will be deducted from the security deposit and balance remitted to BUIST,” the letter further stated.

The attorneys are threatening to take BUIST to court should the institution fail to pay Seretse.

Sunday Standard has learnt that BUIST is yet to comply with the letter of demand.

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