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Man leaves ex-wife drowning in debt

* Ordered to repay debt-ridden ex P54, 500

A man who allegedly swindled his ex-wife out of P54, 500, leaving her drowning in debt, has been ordered to repay the money within six months.

Appearing before Customary Court of Appeal at Maun main kgotla on Tuesday, Moses Shima Gabana begged for leniency. 

He maintained that when he met Lorraine Gaolebale she was already severely in debt. Gabana further contended that during their time together, he helped Gaolebale care for her child as well as paying off some of her debts, which he insisted should ‘count for something’.

His pleas failed to impress the court.

Indeed, court described Gabana – the owner of Tswapong Coach Tours – as ‘cunning’ and ‘untrustworthy’. 

It ruled that he used Gaolebale for his selfish gains before leaving her in financial ruin when they divorced in 2018.

“It is embarrassing for a man of Shima’s stature to speak in this manner. After putting the poor woman in debt he says he cannot help her pay because she chose to divorce him. The court agrees with Lorraine’s words that it appears Shima treated his marriage as a business opportunity!” stated presiding Chief, Kgosi Christopher Masunga, who doubles as the Court’s President.

Evidence brought before court was that Gabana made his wife borrow money from the bank and take out cash loans for him to use. The apparent agreement was that he would help her pay-off the loans, but he failed to do so.

Court heard that in December 2015, Gaolebale took out a bank loan because her husband ‘needed to fix his bus’. The bank required proof of payment in the form of a pay slip, something Gabana could not provide and thus his wife secured the loan instead. 

Then in September 2016, Gabana asked Gaolebale to take out a P6, 000 loan so that he could ‘buy tyres’ for his bus. She duly did, with court learning Gabana only paid interest on the loan once.

A year later, December 2017, the couple then took out a P28, 500 cash loan from Letshego micro lenders, again in Gaolebale’s name.

The couple’s original agreement was that the husband would repay the loan in P5, 000 monthly installments as he had recently won a transport tender worth P30, 000 a month. 

However, Gaolebale told court that her husband refused to pay any of the loans and she ended up being sued. 

She further stated that although she stays in a Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) house in Palapye, she is struggling to make ends meet. The visibly upset woman claimed she could not even afford to pay her water bill due to the debts she incurred with Gabana.

“When we met, I was driving a Toyota corolla, but we later bought a BMW which was registered in my names. One day I went for a work trip and he changed the car into his names,” said Gaolebale, who told court she played a big part in Gabana’s rise to the successful businessman he is today.

In the end the Court of Appeal ordered Gabana to pay back his former wife, upholding the verdict issued by Maun Customary Court late last year.

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