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Gov’t counters contempt with stay

MPHO MOKWAPE
Seretse PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The government has countered asset manager Bakang Seretse’s contempt of Court application with a stay of execution.

Therefore, the State will today before Lobatse High Court face off with Seretse who is seeking Court to hold the government in contempt for defying the order that was meant to give him back his properties in the hands of the state receiver.

Seretse was last week granted an order by Lobatse High Court Judge Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe compiling the State to release his properties in the sum of monies belonging to some of the companies he owned.

The order was for the State to release the properties within 24 hours of the order but in a turn of events the State failed to do so forcing the embattled businessman to file a contempt of Court application.

However, the State is reportedly not barging as it applied for a stay of the order while pushing for an appeal. Seretse on one hand wants the State held in contempt for defying the order.

According to his Court documents he argues that the State was underplaying the seriousness of the actions saying by the time the application was heard it would be days ahead in contempt of Court. “The State underplaying this matter. They were notified of contempt and ignored didn’t even do anything until the application was launched. They must first purge their contempt before the Court can hear them. The same urgency we launched the contempt proceedings was available to them but failed to do so,” he said.

He explained that the State was in contempt and that its expressions of goodwill run contrary to the logic and message of its own actions especially that its conduct undermined the rule of law and the authority of the judiciary.

Seretse said the State was behaving criminally by holding on to property that does not belong to him in the name of such being proceeds of crime.

“I deny that the properties involved are proceeds of crime. On the contrary,

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it is the State that seeks to steal from us. The government’s very criminal and it is the government that should be undergoing a criminal trial.

Same seeks to deny civil liability for its actions by making purely civil transactions for which it is liable, criminal,” he said. He pointed out that it was significant that no effort was made to explain how the filing of an appeal had an automatic effect of a stay of execution. Seretse further said since the State’s retraining order in the matter failed with the result that the properties were due to be returned, they could have appealed the matter to the Court of Appeal if they were not happy but allowed themselves to remain in a state of unlawful retention of the properties for a period commencing January 13, 2018 to date.

“Now they seek an extension of an expired and an un-appealed statutory restraining indirectly through a stay of execution.

A stay of execution would simply give them a second restraining order in separate proceedings having received the same relief before another judge,” he said.

Seretse further explained that State was moving from Court to Court looking for the same remedy each time its loses or squander the relief they had been given.

He said that State had the benefit of a restraining order between December 13, 2017 and January 12, 2018 and that all they needed to, was to file asset forfeiture application within 28 days and that they did not.

Therefore having that benefit they also had a benefit of further self allocated extension between the January 2018 to date, which represented some two years and nearly 10 months of unlawful and illegal possession.

“It cannot be right for state to hold the private property of a constitutional subject unlawfully for nearly three years and to request the court to assent to such unlawfulness,” he said.



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