A golden beige metallic Toyota Land Cruiser LX V8 4WD, registered B 587 BEW, is the possible tangible evidence that could actually stick and bring down the former powerful civil servant in the country. Next week the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) will attempt to grill the biggest fish it ever caught, as the trial of the former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi begins, Staff Writer THALEFANG CHARLES previews the State Vs Morupisi & others
Toyota Land Cruiser pickup is a status symbol for a Motswana man. It is regarded as a vehicle for the proud but modest ‘old timers’ who really made it in life.
The men who want to retire gracefully, after an illustrious civil service or disservice (as we are about to find out) and now turning to focus on their moraka is located deep in the mean sands of Kalahari - the Land Cruiser, with its blocky and rugged shape was built for such terrain.
It is the same vehicle that the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane drove himself in, when he attended the COVID-19 All-Party meeting addressed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi at Boipuso Hall in April 2020. The former PSP’s huge fall from grace is because of the Land Cruiser, curious minds say.
According to court papers seen by Mmegi, Morupisi is accused of receiving a brand new Land Cruiser as a quid pro quo for signing an illegal multimillion pula contract that stole pensioners’ money from Botswana Public Officers Pensions Fund (BPOPF).
Next week Monday, when the trial begins, the Gaborone High Court will hear how one Sunday afternoon in December 2016, the directors of the now troubled Capital Management Botswana (CMB), Tim Marsland, who is currently languishing in a South African jail, and Rapula Okaile delivered a brand new Land Cruiser at the PSP’s house.
“I am aware that this vehicle had some extra features installed on it such as roll bars, cattle rails, radio and the rubberising at the request of the PSP via Rapula,” reads an affidavit of Trudy Marsland, the estranged wife of Tim Marsland who will be called in as one of the 30 witnesses lined up by the prosecutors. After all the PSP’s requested extra features were installed, the Cruiser’s price hit R630, 988.99 and was paid without an issue from the Manor Squad Services (Pty)
Morupisi is said to have been very particular about the kind of Cruiser he wanted and he did not want to settle for anything less. Trudy, in her statements filed before court, recounts the greediness of the man they only referred to as “PSP”.
She said her husband (Tim) was even complaining that, “the PSP was demanding too much and was never satisfied”.
Trudy was sent to pick up the brand new vehicle from the dealer at CMH Toyota in Alberton, Johannesburg.
This PSP’s Cruiser, which he reportedly added extra features to it like he was ordering a cheeseburger, turned out to be a top of the range Land Cruiser 79 LX 4.5 V8 4WD single cab, and golden beige metallic in colour.
The so-called ‘Indestructible Master of Africa’. Its loading bay was rubberised, a pricey feature that applies polyurethane coating to protect the vehicle from wear and tear.
It also had the strong black cattle rails for loading livestock as well as roll bars and bush guard pre-mounted, just as the PSP had ordered.
The Cruiser was first registered under Manor Squad Services, a South African company that actually paid the dealership, with FR 33 KC - GP plate number.
It was later registered in Botswana with a new registration number B 587 BEW to a company called R7 Group – second accused in the case.
The sole director of R7 Group turned out to be Pinny Morupisi, wife to Carter Morupisi and the third accused. She will also be representing the company in the dock.
The High Court will pronounce whether the disgraced PSP could clear his name and be able to freely don the so-called Nyeletso Lehuma khakhi vests and ride his golden beige metallic machine again.
Or will the DCEC finally triumph against high profile looters and throw the former highest government official in jail over a Land Cruiser.