Wednesday, May 18, 2022

How Matome was misled into a land fraud trap ÔÇô confidential report

A confidential report, which has been passed to the Sunday Standard details how jailed former Debswana group Secretary, Joe Matome, was “misled” by the late Louis Nchindo during the controversial transaction of the Tourism Development Consortium plot in Gaborone North.

The report, which was compiled by a team of international forensic experts commissioned by Slaughter and May, further reveals that Matome was “uneasy” with the controversial transaction, but decided to keep quiet because he feared Nchindo.

The report, which formed the basis of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigations into the Tourism Development Consortium’s fraudulent land deals, was, however, never presented in court. Collins Newman & Company, the law firm that represented Nchindo and Matome, filed a court application to stop The Sunday Standard and The Telegraph from publishing details of the explosive report while the trial was ongoing.

During an interview with the international forensic experts, Matome revealed that he “began to feel uneasy about the Tourism Development Consortium Pty Ltd in February 2002” when the company shares were transferred to Nchindo and his son Garvas. He said he was “concerned about what Nchindo was attempting to do.” Matome also revealed that he felt that “he was misled over the matter”, he however decided to keep quiet because of “a combination of professional naivety and fear of Nchindo”.

During the interview with the forensic review team, Matome admitted that it was dawning on him that “the whole tourism project was a means for Nchindo to get the government to allot him land, without a formal tender, which Nchindo would then lease to the eventual consortium/operators of the Debswana Tourism Development initiative. Nchindo was intent on obtaining the land and leasing to the eventual operators for personal gain.” Matome agreed with the forensic experts that “this now appeared to be the case and the documents reviewed seemed to support this conclusion”.

Curiously, Matome chose to remain silent throughout the trial about how he was misled by Nchindo during the transaction, apparently because his evidence would have implicated his former boss, friend and mentor. Both Nchindo and Matome were represented by the same law firm, Collins Newman & Company.

Regional Magistrate Lot Moroka this week sentenced Matome to three years and Nchindo’s son, Garvas, to two years in prison.?While Nchindo’s son has had his sentence wholly suspended, Matome will do his time. Meanwhile the piece of land in contention reverts back to the state. Moroka convicted Matome, Garvas Nchindo and the Nchindo family businesses of Galconda and Tourism Development Consortium on all the nine counts of fraud and corruption.?Their charges centered on the Tourism Development Consortium Plot 55720, situated in Gaborone North, which the state says was obtained fraudulently.

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