Mmegi Online :: Senior lawyer in fraud charges
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Last Updated
Monday 25 June 2018, 06:00 am.
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Senior lawyer in fraud charges

A senior attorney Baatlhodi Molatlhegi is fighting allegations of criminal conduct. He is accused of having transferred a plot in Block 8 in Gaborone to a buyer without the consent of the owner. The Gaborone lawyer on the other hand claims ignorance to the deal and that his signature had been forged.
By Oarabile Mosikare Wed 20 Apr 2016, 15:36 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Senior lawyer in fraud charges








In the Deed of Transfer No. 1965/2006 dated August 18, 2006, Molatlhegi is stated as having acted as a conveyancer, with power of attorney granted to him by the applicant Kaone Molapo on August 14, 2006. In the deal it was stated that Molapo had sold all his rights and developments over Lot 34124, Block 9 to one Ralph Maganu, the second respondent. The third respondent is Bank of Botswana, which is the mortagee in the mortgage bond No. 2997/09 dated October 19, 2009 in which Maganu is the mortgagor of the property on the disputed plot.

Other respondents are the Registrar of Deeds, Stanbic Bank, Emy Kgaswane, Lands Department and Gaborone City Council (GCC).

“I have learnt with utter shock and dismay that the first respondent had prepared transfer of Lot 34124 Block 8, Gaborone to the second respondent without my consent or knowledge. There is no doubt that false information was given to the Registrar of Deeds as to the circumstances of the transfer,” said Molapo in the founding affidavit.

Molapo said the court is entitled both in fact and in law to order a re-transfer of the property into his names. “It may well be that the first respondent has received some payment from the second respondent of whatever form but the truth of the matter is that the purported transfer of the disputed Lot 34124 Block 8, Gaborone to the second respondent is tainted with illegality and therefore the court should direct the relevant authority to investigate in the event there is criminality having been committed.”

In his answering affidavit, Maganu said he paid P90,000 to the property agents attorneys, Molatlhegi and Associates on June 15, 2006.  A few days later he claimed that Molatlhegi called him to come and sign transfer papers whereafter a title deed in his name was issued on August 18, 2013. Construction of the double storey began late 2007 and was completed on March 2009. He and his wife had taken out two bonds on the house from the Botswana Building Society and Bank of Botswana.

“In entering into this transaction and the conveyancing

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of the property into my name, I placed reliance on Mr Molatlhegi, who is an admitted attorney and someone I respected as an attorney in Gaborone. At no point in time did I ever believe that any aspect of the transaction was not being done above board. Otherwise I would have never entered into the transaction and simply moved on to look for another plot to purchase,” said Maganu.

He said on the basis of the transfer effected by Molatlhegi, he developed the property, the current market value of which stands at P2,840,000 as at August 27, 2013. “I am an innocent party, who placed his reliance in Mr Molatlhegi to effect the transaction and transfer the property in compliance with the laws of Botswana.”

In his affidavit dated October 14, 2013 Molatlhegi said it has since emerged that the Deed of Transfer is a forgery and was not signed by him, alluding to the fact that he is a victim of fraud or criminal conduct by persons presently unknown. He said what he may have signed was a Standard Chartered Bank cheque, a matter routinely done for the trust account. Molatlhegi said he was not the author or the conveyancer of the document to the extent that he did not sign the Deed of Transfer and the accompanying documents.

“If I am given an opportunity to file an affidavit, I will also be able to file a supporting affidavit by the expert from Forensic Document Consultants, a Brigadier FF Hattingh, (Retired) as stated in the report. I honestly and genuinely believe that it would be proper, justified and equitable that I should be given such an opportunity and because of the conduct of the respondent in failing to annex such material documents in the founding affidavit, any such leave, if granted should be at the cost and expense of the respondent and I so pray.”

According to the Memorandum of Agreement, Property Information Bureau, represented by a certain A.E. Chijena, were the estate agents involved in the deal.

The case continues before Justice Bengbame Sechele on May 4, 2016.

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