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Court bars gov't from purchasing local author's book

The Mnistry of Basic Education has been barred from purchasing a locally authored book following a contractual breach between the author and the publisher, Pentagon.

The ministry that has been using the book, ‘Le Phirimela go Thaba’ authored by Kedikilwe Oageng in its curricular, will cease, by a court order, from purchasing the book from Pentagon or any other agent.

Gaborone High Court Judge, Tshepo Motswagole recently issued a judgement in favour of the author cancelling a contract between him and the publisher, Pentagon.

Motswagole ruled the matter on account that the author filed an application requesting, amongst other things, cancellation of the contract with the publisher, interdicting and restraining the ministry from purchasing the book after a fallout with the publisher. Oageng accused the publisher of breaching the contract.

Motswagole, in his ruling said no evidence was put forward to show that the author had permitted Pentagon to take full responsibility renounced the right to benefit from the sweat of his labour.

“There is no evidence that the author permitted the publisher to take full benefits of the sale of the book. The publisher also clearly admitted that it was guilty of a fresh breach of contract,” he said.

He explained that the publisher also failed to act on the warning to remedy the breach within five days and failed to oblige despite being warned that the contract would be deemed terminated.

The judge also said though the publisher, through their attorney was lucid and compelling on the position of law, it was not helpful as it lacked specifically when it came to the facts laid by the author.

“The publisher’s counter argument is that the author is not relying on a new

breach, but the old one that was settled but that is not the case as now he is seeking the cancellation of the contract at once,” he said.

The author’s cause of action arose from the alleged breach of a contract entered into on May 27, 2009 with the Pentagon Publishers.

The contract was for the publication and distribution of the book.

Subsequent to that, it was now alleged that the publisher failed to pay the agreed royalties at a rate of 15% per copy sold.

According to an extract of the contract in the court papers, the amount was to be payable annually by March 15 and that as the author, he was entitled to terminate the agreement in the event that the publisher failed to comply with any of the terms.

“In the event that the publisher fails to comply with any one of the terms of the agreement giving the publisher three months’ notice, all rights shall revert to the author,” read the contract.

The order by Motswagole is not the first as the author once sued the publisher and obtained a court order for the payment of overdue royalties and was subsequently paid.

The author’s contention was that the current claim arose from the breach that occurred from March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015 and March 1, 2015 to the end of February 2016.

After the author sought compliance with the agreement and the payment of all overdue royalties amounting P87, 329. 26.  He was now seeking for the cancellation of the agreement.




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