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Mogoditshane ‘car wars’ rumble on

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This week, hundreds of imported cars remained strapped to the top of trucks as the taxman suspended trading at the majority of warehouses in Mogoditshane.

With the warehouses closed, frustrated car-haulers were left with nowhere to offload their imports and remained stranded by the roadside.

This comes after Botswana Unified Revenue Service’s (BURS) recent declaration of war on grey import dealers in the Kweneng District town.

Angry dealers accused BURS of sabotage by delaying the tax clearance on their imports – a move which they say has left them unable to sell their stock.

They further claimed the tax watchdog has temporarily stopped the importation of grey import vehicles, commonly referred to as ‘Fong Kongs’.

However, BURS General Manager- Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement, Kaone Molapo dismissed both accusations as false.

“We are addressing a situation of economic sabotage; it is worse than you can imagine,” declared Molapo, stressing the law forbids BURS from closing off the borders to imports.

He maintained that those who abide by the law and submit correct valuations are free to carry on with business.

Molapo further revealed BURS have seized over 4, 000 vehicles suspected to have been undervalued in an attempt to pay less tax and import duties.

The revenue service suspect garages in Mogoditshane, as well as the rest of Botswana, collude with suppliers in Durban, South Africa, by writing incorrect invoices.

Speaking to The Voice on condition of anonymity, a dealer, whose garage is one of the few to remain open, described BURS’ campaign as ‘political propaganda’.

Pointing out the stranded trucks, he said, “Some have been here since the weekend because there is no where they can offload. Some drivers got fed up of waiting and just uploaded outside and went back to South Africa, they just left the keys with security guards! This has left warehouses with the burden of having to engage more security to look after these cars offloaded outside.”

The man further claimed BURS have known about the grey import tax dodge for years and wondered why they had decided to act on it now.

“It is propaganda,” he reiterated, adding that a number of potential customers were left disappointed at the weekend.

“Scores of people arrived to find garages with tapes of BURS on gates. They probably learnt through the media about the operation and wanted to buy before all the cars were impounded.”

The source further revealed that due to the stand-off between the garage owners and the taxman, further jobs have been affected.

“People would come and buy cars then proceed to install sound systems, alarms and tires. But now all this has been affected because no cars are being bought!”

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Son of BDP women’s wing SG accused of forging DIS boss signature

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Yes I was detained and questioned- Maruapula

A man rumoured to be romantically linked to the reigning Miss Botswana, Oweditse Phirinyane was this week allegedly nabbed and questioned for impersonating a Directorate Of Intelligence Services (DIS) agent.

The suspect, Mompati Maruapula is the son of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) women’s wing secretary General, Neo Maruapula.

He reportedly attracted law enforcement officers’s attention by uttering a false document, complete with a forged signature of the Director General of the DIS Peter Magosi as ‘proof” that he was employee of the DIS when he was not.

He allegedly produced the fake proof of employment in an attempt to fraudulently purchase a BMW vehicle limited addition at one of the car dealers in Gaborone, an eyewitness has claimed.

“The car dealership phoned the DIS to confirm and that is when law enforcement agencies were alerted and a sting operation was set in motion to nab him,” the source further narrated.

He was then told to come back at 2Pm for the car only for him to find security agents waiting to catch him.

Asked to comment on the incident Maruapula explained that he was not charged but simply questioned.

“They (Police) said they would get back to me. I have not yet been charged with any crime. I was briefly detained and released yes. It is true,” he said in a brief interview.

The DIS when quizzed about the matter referred The Voice to The Botswana Police.

“I cannot confirm nor deny your questions. Please liase with the Police for a full brief,” DISS spokesperson Edward Robert said.

Miss Botswana also refused to comment saying she would like to keep her private life private and quickly handed the phone to the recently divorced Maruapula who was in her company at the time.

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Montshiwa’s murder trial yet to start

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Trial date for the late Fairground Holdings Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Montshiwa’s murder case has been postponed as Judge Michael Mothobi is on sick leave.

The main suspect in this matter attorney David Modise and his co-accused- a traditional doctor Tumelo Tshukudu, today appeared at the Gaborone High Court for mention and confirmation of trial dates.

The 35-year-old lawyer is linked to the death of his client, Montshiwa, and he is facing another charge of stealing by agent.

He is currently out on bail awaiting trial.

Montshiwa was shot and killed on the 18th of October, 2015 at his house in Block 6 Gaborone.

It is said that Modise was the last person to communicate with Montshiwa just minutes before the CEO’s fatal shooting.

Police investigations revealed that between June 30 and October 17, 2015, Modise withdrew about P245 000 from Montshiwa’s Trust account.

The money according to the Investigating Officer Detective Senior Superintendent Sergeant Marapo, was entrusted to Modise for the purchase of a plot for Montshiwa in Mogoditshane.

It is alleged that when Montshiwa realised that the money was missing from the Trust account, he communicated with Modise demanding to see him at his house on the night he was killed.

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DPP resuscitates 15 year ‘cold’ murder case

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Nearly fifteen years after he allegedly hacked three people to death, the wheels of justice have started turning and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) are reopening the files to bring murder suspect Mokolopi Mothusi to book.

The accused is facing a triple murder charge after he allegedly hacked to death a man, his wife, and their child with a tomahawk axe sometime in 2005 at Khonkhwa settlement near Jwaneng.

The matter appeared to have been forgotten for sometime, but on Monday the DPP reopened Mothusi’s files and he showed up in court walking with the aid of crutches.

Initially the matter was scheduled for trial for several dates in May but had to be postponed to December to allow the defense to locate witnesses.

“We are faced with a difficult matter here, so far the state had intended to call 20 witnesses, but we are informed that five of them have since died. We will also need time to locate our witnesses who are scattered somewhere in the desert,” said attorney Tengo Rubadiri who is defending Mothusi.

The matter was postponed and trial dates have been set for December 10th up to 15th 2020.

Meanwhile, in a separate matter, Kagiso Sejamabogo will have to wait a bit longer in prison before he is granted bail pending appeal of his 17-year prison sentence for various offences.

Although he has been in prison since 2012, Sejamabogo will have to wait until June before the High Court hears his appeal because a typist who was recording his case record at Molepolole Magistrates Court has been transferred to Mochudi.

Since 2018, Sejamabogo has been trying to get his case record from the court but the staff have been too busy with other engagements at the expense of his agonizing prison remand.

Justice Michael Leburu ordered the Molepolole Court Clerk to avail the record on the 29th of May and that the appellant will present his argument on June 22nd.

The appellant has had his prison term reduced to 11 years and has so far served eight years in prison.

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