The managing director of Estate Construction, Kegone Sebina says he has been a victim of harassment, threats and ill-treatment from a number of government departments including the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Botswana Police Service.
In his detailed notice to sue and complaint against law enforcement agents regarding the manner and conduct of investigations against him, Sebina said this is despite the fact that he is and has always been a law abiding citizen, religiously paying taxes for himself and his companies and has always been given tax clearance certificates.
He is also one of the biggest tax -payers in the country and does not nurture nor harbour any political office ambition.
Through his counsel, Unoda Mack on October 15, 2019, Sebina served all the aforementioned law enforcement agents and the Attorney General the notice to sue.
He said on May 31, 2019 BURS requested certain documents from Estate Construction for purposes of tax assessment which they wanted to be provided by June 10, 2019, a date which was extended pursuant to a meeting held at DCEC offices.
In the request letter, BURS wanted to be provided with company documents from 2008 to 2018, a period in excess of eight years, contrary to the provisions of the Income Tax Act.
“At the time of the request BURS had in its possession all the requested documents. All other company records or documents had been seized and confiscated on or about 18th February 2019 during a raid at the company offices by a team of state agents, which included BURS officers,” Sebina said.
He continued: “The company strongly feels that the investigation into its tax records is not being done bona fide and he does not expect to receive a just and fair assessment because of the events that took place preceding the date of the request and on subsequent days”.
He explained that the current investigations were kick-started by an application in the Magistrate’s Court on February 13, 2019 for a warrant of entry, search and seizure.
In the affidavit in support of the application, the director general of the DIS, Peter Magosi made it clear that the investigations being carried out were directed against all those suspected to be associated with Isaac Kgosi, the former spy agency boss.
“However, Mr Magosi makes no averments, at all, in the said affidavit indicating that there could be any association between the company or Kegone Sebina and Mr Isaac Kgosi.”
He said the present tax investigation is purely punitive in nature and is being done in bad faith. To that extent, no just and fair assessment can ever be expected from it.
“This is clearly so because, long before the request for documents was made, BURS was and remains part of a so-called Taskforce which has been set up to deal with any persons who were suspected to be linked to the ex DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi and the ex president, Ian Khama.”
Sebina and his brother, Tshepo Sebina, were suspected to have connections with Kgosi. Sebina had, mainly, two construction contracts which were awarded to Estate Construction, being a works contract for the construction of Thune Dam and associate works contract No. 3(a): Water supply pipelines, Molalatau Pump Station and Storage Facilities Reference No. Project REWF no. PR10/3/3/13 (V).
The other one was a works contract for the procurement of construction of major villages sanitation schemes – Kanye Reference No. PR10/3/313(II).
“He was harassed and taken to task on suspicion that Isaac Kgosi had helped him secure these contracts and DCEC asked for all documents relating to these contracts from PPADB and from the procuring entities, despite the fact that they had confiscated all the documents that they required from Estate Construction.”
Sebina also provided proof that the two contracts were won through the High Court after lengthy and spirited legal battles under case number MAHGB-000405-15 and MAHGB-000436-15, respectively. Estate Construction had been unfairly denied award of these tenders that it had legitimately won.
He said never at any stage in their lives has either of the Sebina brothers or any of their companies had the slightest of connection or association with either
They feel that their victimisation and harassment in their own country, by their own people, for unfounded and unwarranted suspicions, are totally inexplicable, unjustified and completely unfair, he said.
He further said on February 17, 2019, two armed members of the DIS were posted by Magosi at a certain physiotherapy clinic in Extension 5 where it was suspected Sebina was scheduled to meet with Kgosi.
There is no evidence as to the source of such suspicion but it had no basis whatsoever. “The Taskforce was disappointed and frustrated that what they expected did not happen as Kegone Sebina had no such arrangement with Isaac Kgosi.”
“Out of frustration, the so-called Taskforce comprising the DIS, DCEC, BURS and the police was then unleashed on the Sebina brothers and they swooped at the offices of Estate Construction where they harassed everybody and seized and confiscated all company documents (accounting and financial records), title deeds of various properties, registration books, commercial contracts, lease agreements and everything that they could lay their hands on.
These were haphazardly thrown into cardboard boxes in a disorderly manner without regard to their value. No inventories were taken and pleas for inventories to be taken were dismissed with contempt.
All the documents and records have been kept away from Estate Construction, to this date and access to them has been denied,” Sebina said.
He added that the Taskforce issued instructions to the banks to close all facilities and bank accounts of Estate Construction.
“On the 24th August 2019 and 14 September, offices of Estate Construction were broken into at night and the only items stolen therein were computer servers and hard drives.
On 23, September 2109 the offices of Tshepho Tiles, a company in which Tshepho Sebina is a general manager, were broken into at night and computer, as well as Closed –Circuit Television (CCTV) servers and hard drives were stolen. The timing of these break-in instances and the nature of Items stolen raise serious suspicion and concern.”
He said orders have been given to government departments to stop payments due to Estate Construction on the Kanye Project and a company which employs a huge workforce has gone without been paid for actual work done for more than five months.
The company is crippled and is being brought down to its knees deliberately. Coupled with that, buildings have been entered into by the Taskforce harassing tenants, introducing themselves to everyone and instilling fear and insecurity to both employees and tenants.
He said such conduct by the Taskforce cannot be in pursuance of a genuine and bona fide investigation, but rather it is clearly meant to achieve a total shutdown of all the businesses of the Sebina brothers and to confiscate their property.
Mack has told the Attorney General that at the expiry of 30 days, they shall carry out clients’ instructions and institute legal proceedings against the government including that an inventory be carried out forthwith in respect of all documents and other properties confiscated from Estate Construction on February 18, 2019 by the Taskforce.
Furthermore, he said all documents and properties confiscated from Estate Construction on February 2019 be immediately released to the company and that the Taskforce be interdicted forthwith from further persecution, harassment and ill-treatment of Sebina.
All damages arising from the aforementioned conduct of the state agents and other alternative and appropriate relief.
Meanwhile, Tshepho Sebina through his attorney Mompati Sepego on October 16, 2019 also filed a similar notice to sue just like his bother Kegone. All their notices were copied to BURS, DIS, DCEC, Botswana Police and the Office of the President.