Love for wheels lands Morupisi in trouble


Carter Morupisi, once one of the most revered public servants in Botswana, has allowed his love for luxurious set of wheels to land him in criminal trouble. The motor vehicle which, may possibly send Morupisi to the slammers come next week Tuesday, is a Toyota Land Cruiser pick up, valued at P630,988.99.

Morupisi was found guilty on all the three counts he was facing, being two counts of corruption and one count of money laundering, by Judge Mokwadi Gabanagae of the Gaborone High Court.

The case

The case emanates from the half a billion pula tender that was for the asset management for the Botswana Public Officer Pension Fund (BPOPF). The tender was awarded to CMB back in November 14, 2014. In the three-year long high profile case, the state had initially intended to call up to 33 witnesses but in the end, 23 were admitted and only seven witnesses took to the stand. Detailing how Morupisi became complicit in the BPOPF ‘loot’, the judge gave a web of names that were involved right up to the then top man -Morupisi.

The chain starts with Tim Marlsand, co-owner of CMB with Rhys David Carr.

According to the judgement delivered this week, it is Carr’s admitted evidence details the chain of how the BPOPF loot began. “A team was assembled by Timothy Gordon Marsland to ensure that the BPOPF tender was awarded to CMB,” read the judgement. This team comprised of Chexs Lekalake, Rapula Okaile, Siqo Mphoko and a certain Olebeng. “Marsland first contacted his friend Chexs Lekalake who introduced him to Siqo Mphoko. Mphoko then introduced him to Olebeng who was a shareholder of a company named Novare Botswana (Pty) Ltd, which had been appointed to asset consult to BPOPF. Olebeng then, introduced Mr Marsland to Mr Rapula Okaile who by then was the chairperson of BPOPF board and private secretary to the first accused person (Morupisj),” reads the judgement.

According to the judge's findings, once the team was set, CMB bid for tender and they were eventually awarded the tender despite the fact that the court had suspended the auction of the BPOPF board. “The evidence of this witness shows that persons were strategically placed in order to have CMB win the tender. This goes to explain and demonstrate the fact that despite the fact that the board’s functions were suspended, the accused signed the contract when he did not have the authority to do so,” further read the judgement. It is court record that after the tender was approved and money transferred to CMB, the latter’s directors distributed the money in a series of investments. One such transaction was to a South African company called Manor Squad - owned by Okaile and Marshland. The same Mano squad then bought a vehicle, which it later sold to Morupisi a week after purchase. The judge further stated: “I find that the actions by the 1st accused in signing the contract when his status was unknown, by inference, was motivated by a benefit from CMB in the long run and he infact did benefit through Manor Squad buying the Toyota Land Cruiser using funds that flowed from BOP account and ended in Manor Squad Services account. The money which was ultimately used to buy the vehicle in question for R7 group.” The judge was not convinced by Morupisi’s version of events, which he told the court when he gave unsworn evidence that he paid for the vehicle using his own savings. “The circumstances under which the vehicle was purportedly bought points to an inescapable conclusion that then land cruiser is a valuable consideration. I find that the Toyota Land Cruiser was bought as a new vehicle in South Africa by Manor Squad Services not for its own use but for onward delivery to Botswana as a benefit to the first accused person for his role in signing the contract awarding CMB mandate to manage BPOPF funds. The argument that it was a second hand motor vehicle and sold to the 2nd accused and 3rd accused defied trinity of logic, common sense and the law,” the judge ruled.

The judge also found it is hard to believe how a South African company with no ties to Morupisi could buy a brand new vehicle and sell it to him a few days later at a lesser price. “The purported agreement of a sale of used motor vehicle was payment of P40,000.00 yearly or revised every six months. Such interest free loan was to be paid over seven years for six months installment and 14 years for yearly installment with no deposit or security in a foreign country, Botswana. This really beats logic,“ the judge remarked “The question now is why did the 2nd accused deserve this mind boggling generosity from a foreign company whose directors were connected to BPOPF through BOP contra dual relationship whilst he was BPOPF member and chairman. The reason is not hard to find. I find that the signing of the contract between CMB and BPOPF by the 1st accused person is the only reasonable source of such generosity for his benefit and or benefit of immediate members of his family,” further read the judgement.

The judge further told Morupisi, who had testified that he had enough money from his savings to buy the car that it makes no difference whether he had a lot of money in his account at the time. “What is important is whether the transaction was lawful/genuine at the time the vehicle was purportedly purchased,” said the judge.

The judge further noted that the payment for the vehicle by Morupisi only became frequent once he was aware that there were criminal investigations against him. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for next week Tuesday.

Editor's Comment
Are police trigger-happy?

Unfortunately, that day turned sour for those who were shopping at Sefalana Cash and Carry in Gaborone West Industrial.The exchange of fire that ensued between members of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) and robbers who had allegedly robbed a G4S cash-in-transit vehicle left two civilians dead, three robbers struck down, and an undisclosed number of citizens wounded.One deceased civilian is reportedly an employee of the Citizen Entrepreneurial...

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