Thursday, October 29, 2020

Judgment in Parastaran perjury case due next Wednesday

Gaborone Village Magistrate Court Principal Magistrate, Terence Rannowane, is expected to hand down judgment on July 13 in a case in which Barzoo Parastaran, the Managing Director of Nina Properties, is facing charges of lying under oath.
Parastaran is alleged to have lied in his application for a plot of land in Gaborone’s Block 9 by indicating in the application forms that Javenah Mahmoud, a Botswana citizen, was a Director and a shareholder of the company when he knew this not to be true.

During final submissions last week, Parastaran’s lawyer, Unoda Mack, maintained the stance that his client had made the application and included the name of Mahmoud under the impression that the Company Secretaries that he had engaged in the formation of his company, MK Masalila, had done what he had instructed them to do, i.e. include the name of Mahmoud as a Director and shareholder of the company.

He further submitted that it could not be true that he made the application knowing this not to be true.

But in his submissions, prosecutor Wesson Manchwe maintained that Parastaran had made that application knowing quite well that Mahmoud was not a director or a shareholder of the company.
Besides that, he said, Parastaran was bound to have checked if his company secretaries had done what he had instructed them to do before proceeding to include Mahmoud’s name as a director and shareholder of the company.

When giving evidence in this matter, Mahmoud denied having signed any documents relating to the formation of MK Masalila Company.

She, however, confirmed that she had discussed the issue of forming a company which would run a private school with Parastaran but added that she did not go further than that.

This will be the first judgment handed down resulting from the Lesetedi Land Commission, which was set up by President Festus Mogae to investigate reports of unlawful land allocations in and around Gaborone.

If found guilty, Parastaran faces a possible seven-year imprisonment and the property built on the disputed property confiscated by the government.
Three other cases, two of which have resulted from the findings of the Lesetedi Land Commission, have recently been mentioned in Court. They are those of a former Gaborone City Council employee, Mmoniemang Molapisi, and the former Department of Lands employee, Rugaganisa, who are alleged to have corruptly helped Parastaran to obtain the plot that he is accused of having acquiring by using false information. The cases will be heard in August.

Another high profile case, which also resulted from the commission and which will also be heard in August, is that of former permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Elvis Mhlauli, who is facing corruption charges in relation to allocation of a plot in the famous RiverWalk Mall.

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