Former Legal Service Advisor for Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), Musa Nleya has admitted that he did not advise former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi, as he did not owe him any duty to do so.
Nleya, who is one of the key witnesses in the Morupisi trial, said he was present during the signing of the BPOPF and Capital Management Botswana (CMB) contract though he knew it was wrong for such to have happened.
“I was present at the signing and I did not advise Morupisi because there was no board, it had been dissolved and there was a court order that he was aware of,” he said.
He admitted during cross-examination from defence lawyer, Basimane Bogopa that he did not directly offer any legal advise to Morupisi, as he owed him no duty except the acting chief executive officer (CEO), Lesedi Moakofhi who was also present at the signing and was a co-signatory to the contract.
Nleya told the court that he had offered his legal advice to the acting CEO and that it was up to her to take the advice to Morupisi and to not continue with the signing of the contract.
Probed further by Bogopa why he did not offer Morupisi advice and made him aware why he could not sign, Nleya said Morupisi was aware of the court order and also knew that the board had been dissolved through it.
“He was aware of the court order as it was sent to him and he knew that the order said that no undertaking regarding the business of the board should be taken as there was no board sitting,” Nleya said.
However, when asked about the details of the order, Nleya could not be certain if it also removed Morupisi from the board since he was the chairperson.
Nleya explained that the order was not specific on that part and that he was not certain if it included Morupisi, but contended that the contract was not supposed to be signed without the
Bopoga closed his cross-examination by putting out to Nleya that as the Legal Service Advisor for BPOPF who was a lawyer he ought to have been proactive in making sure that Morupisi and the Board of Trustees did understand the law and its implications if not followed rather than saying he only advised the CEO.
Still on the State’s key witness, Thandy Seboko who is the Head of Forensic at First National Bank (FNB) on Tuesday as she took the stand told the court that as the bank they held about nine accounts.
Seboko said one account belonged to BPOPF, another to Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP), four belonged to CMB, one belonging to Morupisi, one belonging to a company called Tops Operations, while one belonged to CMB Fund 1 which were all governed by mandates.
In her evidence, Seboko said there were many transactions that happened between an account held by Morupisi and a company called Manor Squad Services and that the transactions indicated that they were for a car payment.
“There were about 13 transactions from Morupisi’s account to Manor Squad that was held by FNB South Africa indicating that Morupisi was paying for the Land Cruiser,” Seboko said.
However, during cross-examination by defence lawyer Busang Manewe, Seboko said there was nothing wrong in buying a car from someone without involving the bank.
Manewe had indicated that Morupisi was only using Manor Squad to buy a car using his personal savings and that he did not involve the bank, as he did not want to incur high bank charges.
He said there was nothing sinister about Morupisi using Manor Squad to purchase his vehicle without involving the bank, as there was no crime in that.
Attorneys Pricilla Israel and Kentse Molome lead the State prosecution team.