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Morupisi, wife trial Day 1: Morupisi takes the stand

MPHO MOKWAPE
Trial Day One: Morupisi and family in court PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
The former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi this morning took the stand giving unsworn evidence. He is back in Court with the wife for a three day trial on charges among them corruption.

This means that Morupisi's evidence which included explaining how the car, the Land Cruiser that has become the centre of the case will not be cross examined by prosecution.

When giving details about the Land Cruiser's acquisition, Morupisi said the vehicle was never his but was  bought for her wife's company and that he became a signatory to the purchase contract merely because at the time the company had no funds.

He explained that he made an agreement with a South African company Manor Squad that he will pay R40, 000,00 for the car every six months and that it was never paid with public funds as claimed but instead there was a payment plan made. 

"The company did not have funds so i agreed to sign on its behalf since its sole director was my wife," he said.

Following all agreements and signing of papers, Morupisi said the payment of the car commenced and the whole payment done at the time amounted to just over R600, 000,00 which included customs duty.

Morupisi said the car was paid using his savings from First National Bank (FNB) and that the sources for the funds were from either deposits from his FNB account directly or from his Absa account which were all from my salary, my pension from BPOPF since i retired from public service on February 28, 2013. 

"I also had Botswana Life policies which paid in total of P403, 787,00 and other source was from external trips which is non refundable from government," he said. 

Morupisi further told Court that there was also a directive which considered that all people sitting in parastatals be paid their sitting allowance after they were omitted so he got his allowance  from Debswana, Defence sitting allowance, Judicial Service Commission and Botswana negotiating team for the diamond  surveillance. 

He was also a member of the  Motswedi Savings and Cooperative Society where he got his allowance and also from his Botswana Savings Bank fixed account which matured on  june 20,2019 

The former PSP also noted that after his retirement on 2013 he was  paid 1/3 gratuity, also paid leave gratuity at the end of term of his fixed contract which was from February 2013 to February 28,2015 and went on to be paid second tour of duty on his fixed contract from February 2015 to February 2020. 

"I also sold agricultural produce like livestock. It's on record that i have never received any funds from outside, it can be traced from both my Absa and FNB accounts.I have a record of my FNB account transactions," Morupisi said.

He told Court that he has never received money not even in Dollars as claimed and that the concern about

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payment of the vehicle which was a seven year period did not make any sense since he bought other vehicles through the same means giving an example that on 2014 he bought a tractor and the payment period was seven years which the payment was from his monthly pension also.

"I do not know any relationship between Capital Management Botswana and Manor Squad as suggested by prosecution,"he said. 

Also giving an account of how he became the  chairperson of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) Morupisi said he was elected after the 2013 presidential directive to replace all the employer trustees from the BPOPF fund after first going through the vetting and election process.

"I was nominated at this meeting together with Andrew Motsamai to compete for this position I succeeded and became chairman for a period of five years," Morupisi said.

On the Capital Management Botswana (CMB) issue which he is accused of signing its contract on behalf of BPOPF, Morupisi said he has little knowledge about it and its directors except that one day he came into the office and he was told by his secretary to sign the documents.

Morupisi explained that at that time the acting Chief Executive Officer had already signed and inserted a date  pointing out that it was the management of BPOPF which recommended for the appointment of CMB although they were yet to complete the legal due deligence requirement.

According to Morupisi he was infact not present on the day when the BPOPF board endorsed the management's recommendation to appoint CMB. 

"I was not in attendance on August 22, 2014 meeting where the board approved the CMB appointment. Apart from being director of DPSM I was also the PSP and so on the day I had other engagement and sent my apology for missing the meeting," Morupisi further said. 

On why he signed the contract even through there was a Court order suspending the business of the board Morupisi said there was no contempt of court on his side and that he signed because it was part of his administrative duty.

"There was no objection and my signing of the contract had no bearing at all in the functions of the board." he said.

In his closing unsworn evidence he also pointed out that when he was first accused and investigations were carried out, he was never given any opportunity to provide documentation to that effect.

The Court  has adjourned and the trial continues tomorrow with the last witness from the defence team. Earlier they had indicated that they will call three witnesses but lead defence attorney Busang Manewe said the witness was intimidated. Prosecution is lead by Priscilla Israel.



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