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Judge absolves attorney Molatlhegi in land dispute

MPHO MOKWAPE
Sechele
Senior attorney, Baatlhodi Molatlhegi has been absolved from a four-year case in which he was fighting allegations of criminal conduct emanating from a land dispute.

Molatlhegi, who was accused of having transferred a plot in Block 8, Gaborone to a buyer without the consent of the owner, was absolved from the dispute together with two other defendants in the matter.

The Gaborone lawyer, having claimed ignorance to the deal and that his signature had been forged, applied for the absolution from the instance following closure of the plaintiff’s case.

In a ruling recently, Judge Bengbame Sechele agreed with the submissions of the lawyer from absolution with costs. Sechele explained that when allegations of fraud were raised in the matter, the substance of evidence was that the plaintiff was complicit in the procurement of the title deed and the subsequent transfer of the property. “His conduct throughout the entire debacle speaks volumes. The plaintiff has struck me as a person who is very much aware of his rights and I take the view that there is more to his inaction than meets the eye,” he said. Sechele said the plaintiff in the matter dismally failed to justify his intention and delay after the transfer of the title deed, which he failed to cancel in time.

The judge explained that a title deed was a serious document that communicates a certain message to the commercial world

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and that the plaintiff must have acted within a reasonable time. “The longer the plaintiff fails to move the court for its cancellation, the greater the prejudice to the third party.  The plaintiff’s explanation that he went to school and that he had insufficient time to attend to the issue, is simply not good enough,” the ruling reads in part. Sechele further noted that the remedy the plaintiff seeks was just too drastic and needs stronger hinges to sustain it.

Meanwhile, in the Deed of Transfer No. 1965/2006 dated August 18, 2006, Molatlhegi was 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 8 to one Ralph Maganu, and the second respondent.  The third respondent is Bank of Botswana, which is the mortgagee 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, Lands Department and Gaborone City Council (GCC) and Emy Kgaswane who has been absolved too in the matter.



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