Maun Magistrate, Momphati Taolo, is tomorrow (Monday, 3 June) expected to deliver judgment in a case in which a Maun lawyer, Charles Tlagae, and a serving prisoner, Nicky Masheko, are facing fraud charges.
The two are alleged to have conspired to defraud a South African citizen, Casparus Gideon Jacobus Stadler, of P600, 000 by falsely pretending that there was a farm in Tawana Tribal Authority that was registered to Wetu Tshenyo whilst there was no such farm and they knew that not to be true.
Making final submissions on behalf of his client, Gaborone lawyer Dick Bayford representing Tlagae, said that prosecution had failed to prove a case against his client because they had, amongst other things, failed to show that his client had played any part in the events leading to the said payment.
Bayford questioned, among others, the viewing of the farm, where Gerhard Visser was accompanied by a certain Mavura Mavura and Masheko, there agreement between Visser and Masheko on the purchase price of P310, 000, the advertisement of a farm in a South African farmers magazine by Visser, the first meeting between Visser and Stadler, the buyer, the decision by Visser and Mavura to increase the price of the farm from P310, 000 to P600, 000 to make provision for commissions and the handing over of Wetu Tshenyo’s identity document and copy of lease in Tshenyo’s name to Visser.
Tlagae said that the lawyer who was professionally in charge of all those transactions was the late Venter.
Bayford said that the Prosecution had failed to show that his client could have reasonably been aware of any impropriety in the said transaction when he was not privy to it.
On the amount of P60, 000 that Tlagae is alleged to have received from Masheko after the transaction, Bayford said that the amount was paid to him after all the transactions had been concluded by the agents, commissions paid and ownership of farm transferred to Stadler.
He said that Tlagae had received the total of P60 000 from Masheko knowing that the P30, 000 was from Visser, his friend, whilst the other P30, 000 was legal fees for work he had done for Masheko.
When receiving the money, Bayford said that his client did not think of any offence being committed as he believed they were proceeds of a legal enterprise overseen by another lawyer Venter.
Countering the submissions, Merapelo Mokgosi of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, had said that Tlagae had part of the scam as he had even followed the Maun First National branch manager to the airport to ask him to authorize payment of the cheque.
She also submitted that it was all lies that Visser had given Tlagae some money, adding that the truth is that it was his part of the loot. He said that it had also been revealed in Court that Tlagae was the first one to tell Visser about the farm that was on sale.