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Seretse fights to keep assets

10 May 2023

Local businessman, Bakang Seretse has applied to the Court of Appeal to allow him to make late payment of security costs in a case in which he is contesting a High Court judgment that ruled in favour of forfeiture of his properties by the state.

High Court Judge Justice Omphemetse Motumise had granted the state their request for forfeiture of assets belonging to Seretse and his company Khulaco.

In his ruling, Justice Motumise ruled that the 27 listed assets, amongst them houses and top of the range vehicles, were proceeds of crime related to the National Petroleum Fund case.

When appearing before Justice Singh Walia of the Court of Appeal on Monday, the applicant’s attorney Mr Kgosietsile Ngakayagae conceded that the applicant made payment of security fees four days after the stipulated time.

He said late payment was an administrative matter and had not been opposed by the state, adding that the appeal against Justice Motumise’s judgment had high prospects of success.

Mr Ngakayagae said the judge erred in concluding that the properties ordered to be forfeited were proceeds of crime and said the judgment was based on hearsay evidence.  

“The evidence was based on hearsay as no one had confirmed the origin of the said assets. In his ruling the evidence is not dealt with, it is completely overlooked,” he said.  

He argued that Justice Motumise overlooked their submission that the evidence before the court had not been authenticated.

Also, he said there were dispute of facts regarding the source of funds used in acquiring the said assets, noting that his client, Seretse had filed documents on the origin and authenticity of the properties in dispute.

He further said there were many assets cited in the judgment and the judge had not dealt with them individually to show how each of them related to the said crime. “The lordship dealt with them globally, he should have been subject specific,” he said.

Mr Ngakayagae said if the items were proceeds of crime, being item specific could have helped the court to show which assets were to be forfeited.

Assets forfeited by state included  Maserati Gihibli S, three Mercedes Benz, Lexus LX 450, Land Cruiser 5.6 V8, Toyota Hilux, residential properties in Extension 11, Lobatse, Gaborone West, a farm and Rolex watch among others.

The judgment had been reserved for June 2. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : Gaborone

Event : court

Date : 10 May 2023