Judgment day in Masisi family court case

Olebile Pilane has dragged his aunts , President Masisi's sisters, to court
Olebile Pilane has dragged his aunts , President Masisi's sisters, to court

Gaborone High Court judge, Michael Leburu, will this morning determine a no-case-to-answer application filed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s sisters and their business associates.

This development follows a lawsuit brought by their nephew in a court battle over a government tender.

In the matter, the President's nephew, Olebile Pilane, has taken his aunts and business associates to court, alleging they ousted him from their company, G&M Building Services (Proprietary) Limited.

At the heart of the matter is a government water tender, which the First Family's relatives won through their company, along with a joint bid with Tianyuan Construction (Tianyuan), for the construction of the Goodhope Sub-District Water Supply Scheme 2.2 contract for P549,699,654.70.

The battle over the government tender has now exposed the First Family to scrutiny and even dragged the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and state organ, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), into the mess. The First Family's war over the government tender is playing out in an ongoing court battle initiated by Pilane.

Pilane was the only witness to take the stand, giving his account of what happened behind the scenes during the awarding of the tender, exposing ‘powerful’ names and how they are interconnected.

According to him, when giving his sworn testimony in court, a Chinese businessman, Hua Shi Li, approached him with the idea. He claimed that the company had not been doing well in water tenders and that 40% shares along with a monthly salary of about P45,000 and other benefits would be his compensation if they joined forces.

He said this continued until he received a call from Li, who claims he told him that the Director-General (DG) of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) had informed him that they had won the tender.

He further said his relationship with the Chinese businessman soured when he (Pilane) refused to donate five percent of the tender money to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

He added he was then called for a meeting at his aunt’s house, Masisi’s sister Boitumelo Mmutle Phadi, where, he says, he was forced to resign from the company.

He said he was threatened that Magosi would "deal with him" if he did not. He further said he would later meet Magosi, where he says the DIS boss told him his aunt sent him. Pilane further says Magosi told him to hand over a copy of a cheque for the BDP and to leave the matter alone as it would embarrass "the Masisi family".

However, during a heated cross-examination, the defendant’s lawyer, Obrien Bvindi, put it to Pilane that he had committed perjury by lying under oath. Bvindi further put it to Pilane that in his initial statement, he told the court that he did not resign but left the meeting without signing the resignation letter, which he claimed was written for him.

Regardless, Pilane said that he signed the letter under duress.

Bvindi posed the question to Pilane that he withdrew the earlier matter – a petition – because he was caught in a lie.

“I withdrew the matter after advice from my attorneys that we would lose the matter because of a point of law raised,” Pilane responded.

Bvindi asserted to Pilane that the reason why his relationship with Li soured was not because of the BDP issue as he claimed, but because he had not disbursed the sum of P100,000 that was deposited into his (Pilane) account by Li to give to their company lawyer.

In their statements, the Masisi sisters have also denied allegations from their nephew on how they secured the tender, calling his version of events nothing but a "figment of his imagination".

Editor's Comment
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