Friday, October 30, 2020

Land corruption case in court for five years

The last criminal case which arose from the Justice Lesetedi Land Commission is still before Southern Regional Magistrate Lot Moroka more than five years after it started.

Former Gaborone City Council employee, Mmoniemang Molapisi, and former Department of Lands employee, Andrew Ruganisisa, are expected to take the dock when the case resumes on Tuesday.
The two are accused of misleading the council allocation committee about the purpose of a plot in Block Nine, in which currently stands a private school.

The duo allegedly withheld information that the plot was earmarked for a community school.
The state alleges that the plot was erroneously allocated to Nina Properties, a private land developer, because the duo misled the council allocation committee. In the past, the Director of Nina Properties was charged of not telling the truth whilst under oath when he applied for the piece of land but was finally acquitted.

During the trial of Nina Properties Managing Director, the school remained closed, licensing authorities declined to give them a permit to operate the school as the issue surrounding the building of the school was before the Court. The school started operating after the company’s Managing Director appealed to the Office of President.

State prosecutor Wesson Mantswe insisted that they should continue with the case despite the school having been given permission to operate. Mantswe said that the two issues were not related.
In another case arising from the commission, former Permanent Secretary in the former Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Elvidges Mhlauli, was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Gaborone magistrate Lot Moroka.

The sentence was later dismissed by Lobatse High Court judge Key Oagile Dingake on appeal.
The Commission was set up by former President Festus Mogae after former Gaborone West Member of Parliament, Robert Molefabangwe, had tabled a motion in Parliament asking that land allocations in and around Gaborone be investigated as there were rumours that some people had got the land through scrupulous ways.

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