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Left in the dark

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Headmaster switches off teacher’s electricity

Instead of strategizing on how to improve results in the face of Coronavirus, Sefhare Junior School staff are caught up in a petty fight over housing.

A brewing storm in a teacup between a new teacher and the school head over housing and electricity has threatened to divide the staff after the teacher’s electricity was abruptly cut and he was forced to resort to using candles for lighting.

The teacher (names withheld) says he recently arrived in Sefhare from Mahalapye Junior School to a hostile and unwelcoming environment after swapping with a colleague in December last year.

For fear of reprisal the concerned teacher preferred that his colleagues and sympathisers narrate his ordeal to The Voice with the hope that speaking out would bring him some relief.

“When a cargo truck carrying his stuff arrived at Sefhare Junior on the 19th, the deputy school head Ephraim Maifala ordered its return to Mahalapye. This was supposed to be a straight swap. He was supposed to move into the house vacated by the other teacher, but for some reason the housing committee, which is oddly controlled by the school head and his deputy decided to move him to a different house to share with a female teacher, “revealed the concerned colleague.

For four days his stuff remained in the truck at the Sub-region,” he said.

The Voice has learnt that the two swapping mates however hatched a plan to move the stuff in the concerned teacher’s desired house, a move that sent him on a collision course with the housing committee.

In a letter written by the school head on 27th January, the teacher was reprimanded for non-compliance and self-allocation of a house contrary to Section 5 of the Housing Policy.

“He was told he could not occupy the house because it was still under investigation with three other houses for bypassing electricity,” The Voice learnt.
Seeing that the teacher had no intention of vacating the house the headmaster ordered Botswana Power Corporation to disconnect power from the disputed house on March 10, causing the teacher to rely on candles for lighting.

“He’s a strong willed person. Despite all this, he has never missed a lesson. The only challenge is that he can’t wear formal clothes since he cant iron, so he’s resorted to jeans and t-shirts,” revealed a colleague.

In an interview with The Voice on Tuesday, the school head confirmed that he indeed disconnected electricity at the advice of BPC.

He said there was no way the said teacher could occupy a house that is being investigated for bypassing electricity.

Reminded that three other houses under investigation for a similar offence have not been disconnected, Phuthego responded thus: “We looked at the severity of the offence. This one looked like a recent offence while other houses were old cases with one having been bypassed since 2012,” he said.

The School Head said he doesn’t have any problem with the said teacher but only wanted him to comply with the housing policy.

“He can complain or show his displeasure but first he has to comply,” Phuthego said.

“What he has to understand is swapping simply means change of station, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll occupy the house vacated by the other party. Arranging accommodation for staff members is a duty undertaken by the Housing Committee,” he said.

The Voice also learnt that both the headmaster and the concerned teacher were summoned by the Regional Director Sonny Mooketsi who’s expected to settle the matter this week.

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DPP moves closer to recovering P60 million

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The Directorate of Public Prosecutions moved another step closer to recovering the government’s P60 million from Basis Points Capital LTD when it closed its final submissions on Tuesday.

The DPP has made an application for Civil Forfeiture Order against property belonging to persons implicated in criminal proceedings in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund scam that is before the courts.

Making his final submissions, Ernest Mosate responded to arguments raised by the lawyers for the defendants saying that they were wrong to think that the DPP has no right to raise the issue of a fraudulent contract between DIS and Basis Points Capital LTD in their Replying Affidavit.

He said they had no intention to make the issue part of their application for the order, but the respondents raised it in their answering affidavits.

“Our Replying Affidavit brought evidence to demonstrate that the contract does not exist, it is a fraudulent document and that is why it cannot be the basis for the eating of 60 million Pula and for the manner in which it was eaten,” Mosate argued.

Basis Points Capital is linked to Bakang Seretse who is implicated in the 250 million NPF case that is still pending before the courts of law.

Mosate said that the fraudulent contract came into being between March and July 2016 and a total of P60 million was transferred to Basis Points Capital bank accounts at Stanbic Bank and Bank Gaborone between July and December of the same year.

He added that fraudulent signatures, fraudulent correspondence, and ghost employees of DIS were used in the scam hence the urgent need to recover the funds.

This, he said, was confirmed by DIS and ministry officials who have disowned the signatures that appear in agreement documents.

Earlier, the defendants called for government officials to take to the witness stand and be subjected to cross examination in respect to the contents of their affidavits.

Mosate said that the rules of the High Court Act and Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA) prescribe how forfeiture proceedings should be conducted – “they should be conducted speedily and expeditiously”.

He said there was no need for a full trial but the judge had the discretion to call some witnesses to clarify their averments.

The DPP further said that the company did not procure oil as purported in the fraudulent contract but instead, the funds were used in acquisition of luxurious vehicles and acquisition of plots which are to be forfeited.

Some of the vehicles under the DPP’s radar are a couple of Ford Maceratti, Mercedes Benz luxury vehicles and developed plots.

Meanwhile, Justice OmphemetseMotumise has postponed the matter to end of July when he will pass judgment.

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Court dismisses application for case withdrawal

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Industrial Court Judge President, Tebogo Maruping, has turned down an application for a withdrawal in a marathon case between former Wildlife Ranger, Thatayaone Lexicon Mpatane and his former employer Department of Wildlife & National Parks.

In a brief letter dated 10th March, the Registrar of the Industrial Court, Anna Mphethe writes that: “I’m directed by by the Honourable Judge President who’s seized with this matter to inform you that this has been concluded and is currently awaiting judgement and therefore your application for withdrawal will not be entertained.”

A bemused Mpatane told The Voice that he was shocked that the Judge President has rejected his intention to withdraw the matter. “In our correspondences last year, whenever I inquired about the case, I was always given the impression that the Judge President had a backlog of cases from as far back as 2017 and mine was number 50 out of about 51 cases,” he said.

Mpatane referred The Voice to a correspondence from the Court written on 20th December 2019 in response to his inquiry written on 11th November 2019.

In the letter written by Bakang Tshipinare on behalf of the Registrar, the Judge President states that the principle of first in, last out is applied when cases are adjudicated before court. “Your matter will hence be dealt with, once the preceding cases are concluded. We’ll hence keep yourself updated on the estimated time frames during the year 2020,” reads part of the letter.

In court documents seen by this publication, Mpatane wrote his case withdrawal letter on 3rd February and requested a prompt meeting with the bench clerk to inspect the file.

However according to Mpatane while the court provided him with the documents the one he needed the most was conspicuously missing. “The court order confirming that I withdrew the matter was not among the documents and when I inquired further I was told the Judge President had refused to write the order asserting that he had already heard the case and would write judgement,” he said.

The former ranger told The Voice last week that he needed the material to register the matter with the High Court to seek for additional reliefs which the Industrial Court cannot grant.

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