A mother of three is suing her adult son over property allegedly worth P2.5 million, which she inherited following the death of her husband in 1999.
Julia Lesotlho contends that her son Horatius Oupa Lesotlho took advantage of her old age and illiteracy to defraud her of a shopping complex in Mogoditshane in a matter before the Gaborone High Court judge, Michael Mothobi. A dispute between the two is traced as far back as 2006 after her children disposed of their shares in the company to their mother in return for a P10,000 payment.
However, Oupa, who is the eldest son retained his position as manager of the company and was in sole control of the books of account. Lesotlho alleges that following that transaction, her son prepared a document for her signature that purported an offer to sell her entire shareholding of the company, Hatj Complex (Pty) Limited. She alleges that she was induced by her son, whom she trusted, to sign the document to offer her shares for sale at a value of P2.5 million.
As such, she says she did not read the document or did not understand it and her son did not explain its contents. It is also explained by the mother that her son was under the obligation to fully divulge its contents to her and advise her of any pitfalls in the proposed sale, regards being to her advanced age, the low level of education, her inability to read English, and his fiduciary duty as a manager of the company’s assets and trust that the mother placed in the son.
According to her, this was “part of a scheme to fraudulently deprive
It is alleged that the son induced his mother to agree to an arrangement to use the company to get a loan from the bank to finance his purchase of the shares as he lacked the resources to finance payment of the purchase price.
Judge Mothobi recently made a ruling in relation to the point raised by the son that his mother ought to have brought the proceedings following the accrual of the cause of action on either August 2006 or on April 12, 2007, which has since lapsed, and the matter prescribed.
Mothobi said that while it seems to him that it would be erroneous to hold that the mother’s action has not been prescribed, the essential feature is when the mother discovered that she was being defrauded.
“Until the date when the creditor might reasonably have been expected to discover the true facts in respect of his right of action if, by the fraud of the debtor, the creditor has been prevented from discovering such facts,” reasoned Mothobi.
Mothoni said the mother was unaware of the son’s intentions to defraud her at the time she signed the papers. He also said the son broke the trust his mother had in him because of his dishonest conduct and only learnt about it on May 19, 2017, when the complex circular share transactions designed by the son were revealed by her lawyers.
In the end, Mothobi dismissed the son’s special plea with costs. The matter continues.