Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mogae fights his former cabinet in court

Former President Festus Mogae and his former Cabinet Ministers have taken opposing corners in the marathon Louis Nchindo court battle.

While his former Cabinet Ministers among them President Lt Gen Ian Khama, Jacob Nkate, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, Phandu Skelemani and Daniel Kwelagobe maintain that there was nothing untoward in the allocation of plot 55720 to Tourism Development Consortium, Mogae on the other hand maintains that the state was misled into making the allocation.

In support of the state’s application for a restraining order, Mogae says that cabinet was never told during Nchindo’s presentations that Garvas Nchindo, son of the late Nchindo was part of the Debswana Tourism Project. Instead Mogae contends that there was a presentation made to him and his cabinet that TDC was the vehicle through which Debswana wanted to diversify Botswana’s economy.
Mogae’s affidavit contradicts the ones filed by his former cabinet ministers Dikgakgamatso Seretse, Phandu Skelemani and Daniel Kwelagobe who are opposing the restraining order.

The state wants to repossess the land given to Tourism Development Consortium (TDC) arguing that it was obtained fraudulently and is thus a proceed of serious crime. According to Mogae TDC was supposed to be a citizen owned company via pension funds and other institutions including Sun International. Mogae further states that Debswana and Sun International Holdings were to jointly own at least 51% in the project.

Mogae says that at some point he was accompanied by former minister Tebelelo Seretse to the Debswana Head office where he was briefed through presentations on the company’s initiative to develop tourism in Botswana.

Through its restraining order application the state wants to reposess TDC plot in block 10, Gaborone and a house belonging to the late Nchindo.

According to the state, Joseph Matome and the Late Nchindo rigged the tender process in favour of Nchindo when he bought the said house. The House was bought through his company Golconda Holdings through a public auction.

According to the founding affidavit filed before the High Court when Nkate allocated the land to Tourism Development Consortium (TDC) his view was that it was a Debswana subsidiary
According to Victor Mabina, as an indication of government’s Development Tourism Project (TDC) a presidential directive was subsequently issued after officials from Debswana made their briefing to the then Mogae cabinet on Debswana’s Tourism initiative.

According to former deputy permanent secretary in the ministry of the then ministry of commerce and Industry Gaylard Kombani, a correspondence between him and Matome identified Debswana as the driving force behind TDC. The case is to be heard on the 14th of July and is before Judge Lakvinder Walia.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.