Monday, September 21, 2020

High Court judge overturns Mhlauli conviction

The former Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Elvidges Mhlauli, his friends and family members on Friday left Lobatse High Court smiling after Lobatse High Court judge, Key Oagile Dingake, dismissed the seven-year judgment that was passed against him by Gaborone Chief Magistrate Lot Moroka.

Mhlauli, after the judgment, raced to his car that was parked in the parking lot and drove away.

He had been on bail pending appeal.
Charges against him were that he had abused authority of his office and, prejudicial to the rights of one Kadimo Oremeng to be allocated state land, directed that lot 54520 Gaborone be allocated to one Eddie Norman.

Mhlauli was in the matter represented by a Cape Town-based advocate, Francois Van Zyl, assisted by Reuben Lekorwe, whilst the Directorate of Public Prosecution was represented by Bafi Nlanda.

Asked to comment on the judgment, Nlanda said they will study it before they can make a decision on whether or not to appeal.

”We will first have to study the judgment before making such a decision,” he said.

The case resulted from the Land Commission, which was set up by former President Festus Mogae to investigate reports of irregular land allocations in and around Gaborone. That happened after Gaborone South West Member of Parliament Robert Molefhabangwe had tabled a motion in Parliament requesting the allegations of illegal land allocations to be investigated.
The case is also the second case resulting from the Commission that the state has lost.

In the first instance, the state lost a case in which it alleged that Nina Properties had fraudulently acquired a piece of land in Gaborone Block 9 where a private school was constructed because its director, Barzo Parastaran, had claimed that the company has a Motswana director when he knew this not to be true.

It is not clear what had happened to other cases that the Commission had ruled should be further investigated.
Amongst them is how some land developing companies acquired land in Gaborone. But some sources say that the majority of the cases have been dropped because of lack of evidence.

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