Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Parastaran acquitted in perjury case

Former Gaborone Principal Magistrate, Terence Rannowane, has acquitted and discharged Barzoo Parastaran, the Managing Director of Nina Properties, of perjury charges.

Parastaran was facing charges of having knowingly lied by stating that Javenah Mahmoud was a Director and shareholder of Nina Properties when applying for a piece of land in Gaborone in 2000.

In his judgment, Rannowane said that it was not in dispute that the name of Mahmoud did not appear in the list of Directors of Nina Properties when an application for a piece of land was made but that the issue is whether he knew that it was false that her name appeared.

Rannowane said that it was not important whether the statement was made corruptly or maliciously as this was not the case against the accused.

The operative word in this matter, he said, is that the accused knowingly made false statements. Rannowane said it was the state’s duty to prove that the accused knew when making the statement that Mahmoud was a Director of Nina Properties when she was not.

Evidence before the Court, he said, proved that the accused person had given his Masalila company secretaries instructions that she be included as a Director. The accused, he said, thought that this instruction had been carried out.

As such, he said, it remained doubtful as to whether the accused actually knew that Mahmoud was not a Director at the time he gave the sworn statement.

Rannowane said that he was satisfied that it had been shown that the accused knew at the time he made the affidavit that Mahmoud’s name had not been included in the list of Directors in accordance with his instructions.

Asked to comment on the judgment, Wesson Manchwe, the Directorate of Public Prosecution Principal counsel, who prosecuted the case, said that he had not yet studied the judgment and could not comment on it.

The case emanated from the Lesetedi Land Commission which was established by President Mogae to investigate reports of illegal land allocations in Gaborone.

Two other cases related to the Commission are scheduled to be heard in August. One of them involves the allocation of the plot to Nina Properties whilst the other case deals with allocation of land at River Walk by the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Elvidges Mhlauli.

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