FRANCISTOWN: A disgruntled contractor has withdrawn a P1.5 million lawsuit he filed against the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), citing shortage of funds to pursue the case.
Joseph Mabutho, a losing independent parliamentary candidate in last year’s general elections, had slapped the BDF with the suit after alleging that he had been short-changed in a bush-clearing contract.
On Friday, Justice Zibani Makhwade ruled for costs against Mabutho, after the contractor said he did not have enough money to pay for attorneys and was withdrawing the matter for now.
During a previous appearance, Makhwade had advised Mabutho to engage an attorney after both the High Court judge and Nkurumane Balule for the Attorney General Chambers, said they did not understand the papers the contractor had filed.
“You do not seem to be able to state your case properly. In my view I think that you should engage an attorney to help you pursue your matter. The papers before me do not exactly show me how the court should assist you,” said Makhwade.
Mabutho conceded that he was not conversant with court processes, but added that he had thought the court would guide him to properly lay his claim.
Mabutho filed the P1.5 million lawsuit alleging the BDF had wrongfully terminated the bush-clearing contract.
The BDF had awarded the contractor a P39,000 tender to cut and de-stump trees at the BDF Area S camp. The tender was to run for 25 days.
However, with the termination, Mabutho said he was suing the BDF for loss of income, among other reasons.
“The BDF wasted my time as other people or companies could have contracted me had the army not offered me the tender,” he said.
In his notice to sue dated February 27, 2015, Mabutho said the BDF had not provided valid reasons for terminating the contract. The BDF said Mabutho damaged houses in the area, while attempting to carry out the contract.
The BDF wrote the contractor a letter of demand for P11,520 in connection with the alleged damage.
However, Mabutho had responded: “We are not to blame for the fence issue or any other unforeseen circumstances like disrupting power lines (sic) and only want to establish a good working relationship with you”.