The much anticipated high profile Game of Thrones between two of the country’s most accomplished attorneys and former partners, Rizwan Desai and Parks Tafa, got underway before Justice Omphemetse Motumise at the Gaborone High Court on Wednesday.
The duo faced off in a high stakes multi-million pula lottery case involving a losing bidder, Ithuba Solutions against the preferred bidder, Grow Mine Africa.
But all eyes were on the former senior partners at Collins Newman and Company, Rizwan Desai, representing Ithuba Solutions and Parks Tafa, representing Grow Mine Africa, as to who between the two millionaire lawyers will have the better of the other.
The case did not fail to live up to public expectations, as both law firms sent out their signature brains for the matter, to set up a truly Desai versus Tafa day in court.
Desai was the first to throw blows when he launched an ambush to finish off his rival on the spot; he accused his rival of failing to file court papers for the case despite ample time since October 22, 2020.
Desai also submitted that he had secured a court order for the matter to be heard on urgency by Justice Motumise and so it had to be heard within time.
Tafa, however, had an ace up his sleeve to play, as his counter attack forced the matter into adjournment and later postponement to next year, thereby denying his rival the opportunity to pin him against the wall and argue the matter immediately.
Tafa also left a dent in his former partner’s reputation when he accused Desai of “unethical conduct”.
Tafa lashed out at his former partner for writing a letter to Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe of Lobatse High Court, to refer the matter to Justice Motumise to be heard as an urgent matter. He alleged that Desai subsequently secured a Court order for his wishes without the involvement of other litigants, something Tafa said was “unprocedural, unethical
To his credit, Justice Motumise was the first to raise alarm about the perception of forum shopping in the case when he took Desai to task to explain his conduct.
After hearing both sides Justice Motumise said he had the option to order that the matter be heard in the normal court process or to adjourn the matter to give litigants a chance to decide together the way forward.
The parties would then reach a compromise that the matter be heard end of January or mid February next year.
The adjournment for a compromise solution to the impasse was no smooth sailing as Tafa literally played king in the talks, first demanding an explanation for the alleged unethical conduct by his rival.
As the parties drew up a compromise deal outside the courtroom, Tafa told his former partner he did not mind extending them a lifeline and letting them have the Judge they wanted.
In the matter, a South African lottery operator, Ithuba Solutions is not happy with the decision of the Gambling Authority to select Grow Mine Africa, a local conglomerate, as the preferred bidder for the national lottery.
Ithuba Solutions claims that the Thuli Johnson-led Gambling Authority failed to comply with the Gambling Act and wants the court to review the decision of the Authority.
Ithuba claims its confidential information was accessed during a crucial stage of negotiations and one of the bidders plagiarised its intellectual property.
On the contrary, the Gambling Authority is of the view that Ithuba Solutions is attempting to impugn the integrity of the Authority and Grow Mine Africa without providing any factual evidence.