Sunday, September 20, 2020

Judge issues a hell’s bells rent-a-house judgment to Seretse

BY MPHO KELEBOGE

Court of Appeal Judge has issued a judgment which says it is appropriate for alleged corrupt suspects such as businessman Bakang Seretse to be exposed to inconvenience and grave indignity.

The court has told him to look for a rented house as a way to avoid being on the streets while his luxurious house in Extension 11, unproven but suspected to have been bought through ill-gotten gains, is under a restraining order as per the court order.

Bakang Seretse through his lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae made an application seeking the appeals court to overturn the decision of the High Court which was not in their favour by way of placing his properties especially his house under restraining order.

When delivering a ruling on the restraining application, the Court of Appeal (CoA), judge Monametsi Gaongalelwe dismissed Seretse’s application with costs arguing that the matter is not urgent and that the purported filling of the appeal without leave was not only irregular but offensive against section 11 of the Court of Appeal Act saying the High Court was right to place the properties under restraining Order.

The Court of Appeal, Judge advised Seretse to rent a house or stay at his house in Broadhurst (Ginger).

The highly modified house at Plot NO: 4890, Extension 11 ( valued at P 6.5 million ) is under a restraining order because the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) suspects it was bought through proceeds of crime – a subject matter in the ongoing P250 million National Petroleum Fund embezzlement case.

”At any rate the second applicant (Bakang Seretse) though saying he is without accommodation does not say anything at all on why he cannot get a rented accommodation either in Gaborone or at any of the places on the periphery of the city pending the outcome of the Civil Forfeiture application or of the contemplated application for rescission of the order, ”said Gaongalelwe

According to court records, defense lawyer Ngakaagae brought the matter on urgency in terms of the restraining order in relation to all motor vehicles, Machinery, buildings and other property items listed as, first (1) to twenty seventh (27), which was not on their favour from the High Court.

But Judge Gaongalelwe said the fact that the order was obtained ex parte (in the absence of the other party) on its own cannot be a basis for urgency as Ngakaagae submitted, because after all that procedure is sanctioned by the Act.

”It is the provisions of the PICA that their implementation involves deprivation of the use and enjoyment of property. Such implementation would necessarily result in inconvenience, hardship, and suffering of grave indignity. In other words the results of inconvenience, hardship and grave indignity are some inevitable components of the Act. The legislature included such provisions fully aware that their implementation would cause inconvenience, hardship and indignity, ”said Gaongalelwe

The judge said, it would defeat the purpose of the law (PICA) if considerations of inconvenience, suffering from hardship and being exposed to indignity no matter how grave, were to be considered should not be administered or imposed on Bakang Seretse.

Gaongalelwe said Seretse has failed to answer why he can’t stay in one of his houses especially the one in Broadhurst (Ginger) because the person by the name of Gorata Ratau, who avers to be a lessee (tenant) at his house at Ginger, is saying something else as evidenced by a deposed affidavit arguing that she stays in Taung, Ramotswa.

The judge said it is important because it has been submitted that Seretse cannot go to live at Ginger since that house has a tenant.

”I have already referred to sections of PICA which demonstrate that the restraining order granted by the judge is susceptible of variation or rescission by the High court and that Ngakaagae stand a chance for a remedy at the High Court and not with the Court of appeal because for now they have not sought leave to appeal from the High Court,” said Gaongalelwe

According to Court records, some of Bakang Seretse’s  27 properties placed under restraining order are Meserati Gihinlis registration number B877 BDH, Lexus Lx 450 Diesel V8 registration number B 444 BDM, Plot: 2565 Thema 1 in Lobatse, and controversial Plot: NO 4890 Extension 11 Gaborone.

Gaongalelwe said on those basis, coupled with failure to demonstrate urgency, and the fact that the order is interlocutory the application cannot succeed.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.