Judges panel to decide on BOPEU business

Ian Kirby
Ian Kirby

A three-men Court of Appeal (CoA) panel comprising Judge President Ian Kirby, and Justices Isaac Lesetedi, and Singh Walia will on Tuesday deliver judgement on whether Botswana Public Employees Unions (BOPEU) business wing should go to elective Annual General Meeting under the current climate.

Representing Babereki Investments, Advocate Sidney Pilane raised two objections, firstly arguing at length that the round robin format adopted by BOPEU to remove and add certain members was not a procedure recognised by the law at Babereki Investments. He also argued that the definition of shareholders as per the company’s Act does not refer to BOPEU taking decisions independently and imposing them on the company. But a law clearly exists  stipulating how a shareholders’ meeting is called by the Board. Its makeup includes BOPEU National Executive Committee (NEC) and other Board members. Pilane argued that procedure was not followed when BOPEU decided to make a decision on the basis of a round Robin.

Pilane also cautioned the three Judges against recognising the BOPEU request before them as it would be tantamount to legitimising the BOPEU office bearers whose legitimacy had been the subject of many court cases some of which are yet to be decided by the Courts.

He therefore pleaded with the panel that while Babereki Investments in principle is not in anyway opposed to the holding of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), it is the characters calling for the AGM which the Court should take an issue with. Who are these characters? Who are BOPEU NEC and other structures? Are they really what they say they are?” For his part, BOPEU attorney Kgotso Botlhole requested the Court to call for the holding of the AGM urgently, and allow BOPEU to submit the names of six substitute office bearers to the Babereki Investments Board.

Botlhole however differed on that BOPEU as a sole shareholder of Babereki Investments can decide as BOPEU NEC, on behalf of the company. Botlhole also said the AGM was long overdue and Board mandate had also long lapsed, contrary to the company’s Act.

Botlhole also said the Board had been sent reminders on several occasions to hold the AGM, but the Board and BOPEU continued to pull in the opposite directions, hence the Court should intervene. The appeal was brought by Babereki Investments following a High court ruling by Justice Dube which called for the AGM.

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