Sunday, July 5, 2020

Kgori Capital laughs last as CoA reverses freezed P10.5 million High Court order

BY VICTOR BAATWENG

If this news item was about the American entertainment sports known as Wrestling, then a local assets management firm ÔÇô Kgori Capital was certainly going to be classified as the “last man standing”.

The firm, on Friday successfully won its bid to overturn a High Court decision in which it had lost money amounting to P10.5 million in its battle with the  the Directorate on Public Prosecutions (DPP) .

The P10.5 million was seized as part of the ongoing National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case which started some two years back.

In April 2019, in what appeared like the last nail on the Kgori Capital coffin, the Lobatse High Court ordered the firm and its directors to reimburse government the P10.5 million which was at the time said to have been earned unlawfully.

The presiding judge at the time, Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa found that the asset management company was in breach of Section 39 of the Proceeds and Instrument of Crime Act (PICA) and section 33 of the Corruption and Economic Crime (CECA).

Justice Nthomiwa said, “In my judgement therefore I’m satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the Respondent Company (Kgori Capital) and its Directors cheated public revenue contrary to section 33 of the Corruption and Economic Crime (CECA); obtained money by false pretence contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code, laundered money contrary to section 47 of Proceeds and Instrument of Crime Act (PICA).”

The judge found that the Kgori Capital did not have any agreement with the Botswana Government over any work involving the NPF.

“The contract that existed was between Basis Point and the Government and it was for the provision of consultancy services.” Nthomiwa said at the time.

He also added that that agreement allowed Basis Point to engage sub-contractors which it did and once such sub-contractor was Kgori Capital.” He said in addition and in terms of the agreement, “the Consultant, alone, shall be liable for payment to such sub-contractors for everything due to it in so far as any payments are due to it.”

Fast forward to mid July 2019, Kgori Capital directors through their attorney ÔÇô Busang Manewe then launched an appeal against Nthomiwa’s ruling which has since been overturned this past week Friday.

The Friday CoA ruling highlighted that a contractual dispute need not have been escalated to alleged criminal charges, resulting in Kgori Capital being wholly exonerated of any assertions or allegations of “Money laundering”, “Cheating of public revenue”, and or “Obtaining money by false pretences.”

Alphonse Ndzinge – Managing Director of Kgori Capital said his company welcomes the ruling of the COA and is pleased with the outcome.

“We are equally grateful for our Judiciary system in that it avails everyone an opportunity to exercise their right to pursue any case or its outcomes in higher courts.  We further recognize the significant role that our courts play in ensuring that the administration of justice is undertaken with utmost fairness and impartiality,” Ndzinge said on Friday.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.