Thursday, July 18, 2024

President’s sister seeks mercy over controversial tender

President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s sister and a Chinese contractor seek court to exonerate them from blame.

Following allegations that they bankrolled the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), they have applied for exception of that they elbowed the President’s nephew from a company that bagged government water tenders worth millions of Pula. 

An exception, in legal terms, is when a party raises an objection on the grounds that the summons is embarrassing, vague or lacks necessary averments to disclose a cause of action.

In fresh papers filed before the Gaborone High Court, the President’s sister and the Chinese contractor argue that they be excepted of the allegations raised by Joseph Pilane (Plaintiff) because they are vague and cannot sustain a cause. 

Cited in the papers as defendants are G&M Building Services (First Respondent), Kelebogile Monnaatshipi (Second Respondent), Tswela Khumo Ventures (Third Respondent)and Huashi Li (Fourth Respondent). 

Papers show that Tswela Khumo Ventures was previously owned by Ketshidile Ntholo Hlanze and is now owned Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle. The duo are reportedly Masisi’s sisters. 

Monnaatshipi and Tswelakhumo Ventures said Pilane’s declaration does not disclose a cause of action against them for the relief sought adding that it does not contain averments necessary to sustain a cause of action against them. 

The declaration simply alleges that the shareholding of the company has been reconstructed with the Monnaatshipi holding 80 shares and 20 shares held by Tswela Khumo Ventures.

The defendants said Pilane’s alleged 40 shares in G&M Building Services were unlawfully dealt with as he neither relinquished or transferred his shares to Monnaatshipi or Tswela Khumo Ventures. 

They also indicated that Pilane does not plead his alleged 40 shares were taken over by Monnaatshipi and Tswela Khumo Ventures nor does he state in what proportion they have taken over such alleged shares. They said Pilane fails to show a nexus between Monaatshipi and Tswela Khumo Ventures and the relief that is sought. 

The defendants also indicate that Pilane’s prayer for compensation or a share of the profits of the project is incompetent as against Tswela Khumo Ventures and Li as such compensation may, should it be payable, only be paid by the company concerned or a director thereof, and not any other party. 

The defendants also indicate that Pilane’s judgement in the sum of P17.5 million is unsustainable at law as a shareholder or other entitled person, should Pilane be able to establish that he is such, is not eligible to a share of any profit proportionate to his shareholding. 

“The Plaintiff’s action is further unsustainable at law in that the Plaintiff, if he is able to prove that he a shareholder or other entitled person with regards to the First Defendant, cannot at law make or sustain a claim for a share of profit that has not been realised and for a project that is on-going,” said the defendants. 

They said Pilane cannot claim interest on a tempore morae basis on a claim for damages or compensation as such interest can only run from the date of judgement when such sum claim is liquidated. In law, a tempore morae is interest charged when a payment is not made timeously, and an interest rate has neither been agreed between the parties nor is it prescribed by statute.

The defendants said Pilane does not plead that his alleged 40 shares were taken over by Monnaatshipi and Tswela Khumo Ventures, nor does he state in what proportion they would have taken over such alleged shares. 

The battle between Phadi, Li, Monnaatshipi and Pilane is over the half-a-billion-pula water tender awarded to Phadi Mmutle and Olebile Pilane through their shared company, G and M Building Services (Proprietary) Limited, which the latter alleges he was elbowed out illegally.

 Pilane who alleges that he was a director of G& M Building Services (Pty) after being offered 40 shares by Li alleges that the Chinese contractor had instructed him to pay the ruling  BDP 5% of the contract sum (5% of more than 500 million) of the said water tender. He alleged that after he turned down Li’s instructions, the latter connived with his auntie to remove him from the shareholding of G&M Building.

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