The Gambling Authority has currently been stopped from issuing any licence to any party interested in operating the national lottery.
The Authority was interdicted from proceeding with, nor taking any further action in accepting, assessing and processing the Botswana National Lottery Licence applications.
This is purely because the Authority already has a pending arbitration case with one of the parties that was interested in running the national lottery when the authority floated a tender in 2017.
The party, Infinitum Lottery Company was left aggrieved when the authority refused to accept their additional documents despite submitting the main document before the closing time that was set for October 26, 2017 at the cut-off time of 10am.
When halting the Authority’s mandate, Lobatse High Court judge, Modiri Letsididi said it should not continue any proceedings in regards to accepting, evaluating, processing or taking any steps ancillary to, nor in pursuance of the national lottery licence applications until the arbitration process was concluded and finally determined and any appeal thereof.
“The applicant has satisfied the requirements for granting of the interim relief. I exercise my discretion to grant the relief for interim interdict,” he said.
Letsididi said the decision for an interdict was on the basis that if the assessment process went ahead, and decisions are taken in respect of the preferred candidate, the applicant’s success at the arbitration hearing might be nothing but hollow victory.
He explained that even though the announcement thereof was not
“The authority will only suffer a mere delay if the assessment process is stayed while the applicant will have no remedy,” he said.
On the contention that the matter was not urgent as opposed by the Authority, Letsididi said the applicant could not be faulted for taking every step to resolve the matter before going the court way.
He noted that in response the applicant explained that they did not immediately rush to court as they were anxiously pursuing all possible avenues that were available to resolve the matter amicably.
Meanwhile, at the backdrop of the case at the arbitration is that the applicant is challenging the refusal by the Authority to accept the balance of their application.
They contend that as long as the first box or master copy was received before the set date and time, subsequent copies could be delivered soon thereafter. However, the Authority contends otherwise and maintains that the set cut off time applied to all documents to be submitted and therefore the balance of the applicant’s documents could not be accepted as they arrived beyond the cut-off time.
The correct interpretation of the meaning of the announcement is the subject of dispute and both parties await the arbitration outcome.