Friday, March 5, 2021

UDC lawyers to pick the tab as petitioners default

The plot in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) versus Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) legal fees battle thickens as BDP lawyers now move to attach the property of their UDC counterparts. Following weeks of chasing down evasive UDC petitioners for the P565, 000 legal bill BDP lawyers Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza & Co have now written letters of demand to law firms Ramaotwana Attorneys and Toteng & Company demanding payments of P175, 000 and P200, 000 respectively in respect of bonds made in support of their clients (UDC petitioners).

Sunday Standard learns the BDP lawyers make reference to Court of Appeal (CoA) costs in the sum of P565, 000 which the petitioners had undertaken to have paid by September 16, 2020.It is against the failure by the 15 petitioners to honour the agreement that the BDP demand the funds from their lawyers following the two law firms’ Bond for Security of Costs filed before the appeal in January 2020. Both law firms have been given until the end of tomorrow (Monday February 15, 2021) to have paid the money failing which Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza & Co will take legal action against the firms that also represented the petitioners.If the two law firms fail to pay, their BDP counterparts are expected to apply to the Registrar for a writ of execution to run parallel to that of the petitioners.

A frustrated Nelson Ramaotwana took to social media following the receipt of the demand letter venting his frustrations seemingly at the BDP lawyers calling them vultures. “The legal vultures have landed in a space of 7 days. Last week my vehicles was (sic) attached. Whilst waiting for auction sale today the vultures came with a demand that I should pay P175, 000 by Monday, 15 February 2021. It is well with my soul,” read the Facebook post.    Last week two petitioners (Dr Micus Chimbombi and Dr Mpho Pheko)’s motor vehicles went under the hammer. Only Pheko’s vehicle was sold (P81, 000) to the second bidder following the highest bidder’s decision to disappear. The same individual had expressed interest in Chimbombi’s motor vehicle.

The Deputy Sheriff had just attached Ramaotwana’s Toyota Hilux to add to the list. The legal fees battle has led to angry exchanges between UDC contracting partners Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) activists with the former accusing the latter of failing to commit to footing the bill. The petitioners have continued to play a game of hide-n-seek with the Deputy Sheriff, Urgent Chilisa, making it difficult for him to expeditiously execute the Court order to pay the legal fees. The Court of Appeal granted a writ of execution in 2020 against Boko and his co-petitioners in respect of P565, 000 owed to BDP lawyers.

The decision followed an unsuccessful attempt by Boko and company to challenge the High Court decision to dismiss their respective applications seeking the court to nullify the 2019 elections results. Another legal bill from BDP lawyers in respect of the High Court petitions still awaits. Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) lawyers Minchin & Kelly have yet to serve the petitioners.

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