Montsi Investments, a South African registered investment company wholly-owned by black South Africans, has been granted a P688, 403.92 judgment against a Botswana fuel supply syndicate, Freeca Gasoline Consortium and its associates – the full amount for unscrupulous activities undertaken by the gasoline consortium.
In a litigation filed in March 2011, Montsi Investments alleged that the defendants embezzled them out of hundreds of thousands of pula by diverting funds intended for Montsi Investments.
“By partnering with Freeca Gasoline Consortium, Montsi Investments had a desire to assist and empower young Batswana entrepreneurs,” Sam Montsi, the Chief Executive of Montsi Investments, told the Sunday Standard.
Montsi said Freeca Gasoline approached them for assistance in funding the supply of petroleum products to the Botswana Department of Energy. Freeca then consulted Brent Oil, a South African petroleum group, to facilitate the supply of the product and Montsi Investments agreed to fund the facilitation and proceeded to pay Brent Oil R6 000 000. The agreement signed between Montsi Investments and Freeca stipulated that payment for products delivered to the Botswana Government would be made to Montsi Investments directly. A letter highlighting this agreement was prepared and submitted to the relevant parties at the Department of Energy in Botswana.
“We were given assurances that the company and its associates were of integrity and that they┬áwould respect whatever arrangements were put in place to facilitate their participation in the petroleum business,” said Montsi, adding that, “Freeca did not honour the agreement and proceeded to defraud the complainants by altering the initial arrangements with the Botswana Government to pay invoiced funds into the account of its attorneys; and an amount of P600 000.00 was duly paid by Government.” The litigation also declared that the attorneys sent Montsi Investments a counterclaim letter in which Freeca laid claim to all the funds paid by the Botswana Government into their account for petroleum products paid for by Montsi Investments.
The litigation stated that the funds were averted and allegedly distributed between the defending company director (Mr Goitseone Matlakele), its attorneys (Gaoboi Attorneys) and the director’s significant other (Ms Philda Nleya).
“I feel aggrieved because of this horrible experience; I did not expect this from Batswana,” he said. “Though I am happy with the court proceedings I am still an unhappy businessman from this experience with Freeca.”
“Montsi Investments is satisfied with the outcome of the court order, some of the funds have been recovered, though it has cost time and money,” he said. He added that in order to satisfy the financial judgment, the court ordered the defendants to turn over all their movable assets. The final order for judgment was entered at the Lobatse High Court on the 2nd of April 2011.