Astounding detail before the Gaborone High Court places the National Development Bank (NDB) at the centre of what has been described as a system-wide scam that involves using the functions of other government departments as well as outsiders to deprive people of their property.
Such detail is contained in a letter that is the basis of a defamation suit against the former Director of the National Museum and Art Gallery, Tjako Mpulubusi. After acquiring an NDB loan in 2001, started a dairy farming project on a farm he owned in Kodibeleng, a small village 15 kilometres west of Shoshong. Three years later, that farm came into the possession of a sitting Botswana Democratic Party councillor, Barethasetse Merementsi. The latter was a result of Mpulubusi being unable to repay the loan and having the farm attached. Mpubulusi alleges that Merementsi and a deputy sheriff called Waheng “falsely staged” the auctioning off of his dairy herd for P140 000 with the councillor being the only bidder. He states with what seems like absolute certainty that “this transaction never appeared anywhere in the documents of NDB.”
In his letter, Mpulubusi refers to a “criminal scam” that is operated by a “seamless network.” Before the sale of property in execution, a copy of the notice is published in the print media. The deputy sheriff processes the notice-of-sale-in-execution document through the High Court and serves it on the debtor. The notice is also published in “two suitable newspapers circulating in the district” and in the Government Gazette. In a letter that Mpulubusi wrote to the Central District Council complaining about Merementsi and Waheng, he says that his dogged 13-year investigation led him to the Government Printer where he made a very important discovery. According to him, an “unknown NDB agent” used a bogus date stamp on the notice-of-sale-in-execution document and that contents of the latter differed from what appeared in the Government Gazette.
Mpulubusi alleges that this elaborate scam involves the subversion of processes of the High Court, Government Printer and the Deeds Registry in Francistown.
“One begins to wonder how many other unsuspecting people have been damaged by this scam,” he writes.
Mpulubusi alleges that Merementsi acquired his farm fraudulently and “free of charge” because NDB wrote off the loan ÔÇô meaning that he could keep the farm. He further alleges that the farm’s auctioning off for P140 000 was “staged” and in service of such allegation says there was only one bidder (Merementsi) and that to date, NDB has no record of such transaction. In terms of the law, when one cedes legal right to property, the new owner is issued a document called a notarial deed of cession. Mpulubusi claims that “Merementsi and Waheng fraudulently acquired the notarial deed of cession without any proof of purchase.”
Each one these startling allegations will be put to the legal test before Justice Boipuso Tshweneyagae. In his letter, Mpulubusi says that he has documentary evidence “to support every aspect of the crime” he alleges. (READ INDEPTH FOR DETAILS)