Thursday, September 24, 2020

Two City Council and Gov’t officials face perjury charges

One former Department of Lands official, Andrew Ruganisisa, and one former Gaborone City Council employee, Mmoniemang Molapisi, will appear before Gaborone Chief Magistrate Lot Moroka next Monday.

They face charges of lying under oath.
The former officials are alleged to have given their superiors false information as regards the Government Allocation Committee’s decision on the status of the plot, at which currently stands Crescent School in Gaborone’s Block 9, was at the time.

The Government Committee, it is alleged, had decided that the plot should be used for construction of a primary community school as there was no community primary school in the area but that they allegedly informed their superiors that it had been decided by the committee that the plot should be used for a private school.

This will be the second trial connected to the allocation of the plot.
In the first trial, the Managing Director of Nina Properties, Barzoo Parastaran, was charged with having given false information whilst under oath when he applied for the plot on which the school currently stands.

At the end of the trial, Terence Rannowane, then the presiding Magistrate but currently Acting Judge of the Francistown High Court, acquitted and discharged Parastaran.
After the Ministry of Education delayed in giving him permission to operate the school, Parastaran then referred the matter to the Office of the President who gave him permission to open the school.

When asked to say why they are still prosecuting when the OP gave a go ahead for the school to operate on the disputed plot, Wesson Mantswe, who is prosecuting the case, said that the fact that the OP gave them permission to operate does not in any way stop them from continuing to prosecute the case.

Mantswe said that these are two different matters as they are dealing with the question of officers giving false information.

“The two issues are not the same at all; that is why we are continuing to prosecute the two accused persons,” he said.

Asked what would happen to the plot if it is found that they lied as charged, Mantswe said, “That will not be for us to decide. Our only concern in the matter is that false information was given by government officials prior to the plot’s allocation.”

The issue of the plot first came up as a result of the Lesetedi Land Commission, which was instituted by former president Festus Mogae to investigate allegations of improper land allocations in and around Gaborone.

The Commission recommended that the allocation of the plot be fully investigated and this resulted in these charges.

The other trial connected to the Commission resulted in the conviction of the former Permanent Secretary of Local Government and Lands, Elvidges Mhlauli, who has since appealed against both conviction and sentence.

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