The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Solomon Sekwakwa and one of his deputies, Jacob Momene, came thisclose to spending Christmas and New Year in prison for contempt of court.
The imprisonment order was subsequently suspended but there is still the possibility of them being imprisoned for 30 days if they don’t sign a lease agreement with Varsha Enterprises by this coming Thursday. Varsha Enterprises is a company owned by real estate mogul, Said Jamali, and was awarded a contract to provide office accommodation to the Accountant General by the Gaborone High Court. The tendering process had favoured Zambezi Motors but in his judgement, Justice Dr. Zein Kebonang found that the process had been fraught with irregularities. Alongside appealing the judgement at the Court of Appeal, the ministry made a stay-of-execution application with Kebonang’s court. The latter was unsuccessful, compelling the ministry to sign a lease agreement with Varsha Enterprises and with that not happening, the company went back to Kebonang with a contempt-of-court application last Wednesday. However, the state assured the court that the lease agreement had been signed.
However, soon thereafter, Varsha returned to court to complain that no agreement had been signed. The result was that Kebonang issued a warrant of arrest for Sekwakwa and Momene for misleading the court. Upon intervention by the Attorney General Chambers, the imprisonment order was stayed but on condition that the agreement is signed within a week. What this means is that if the agreement is not signed by Thursday this week, the imprisonment order will be enforced: Sekwakwa and Momene will spend 30 days in prison. Orders of this nature are typically communicated to all police stations across the country and their enforcement can entail mounting roadblocks to arrest and immediately take the subjects to prison.