Soldier Interdicted For Stealing Over P1m

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FRANCISTOWN: A Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldier, lance corporal Kumbulani Montshwari, has been interdicted for allegedly stealing by servant P1,134,201.13 of BDF Welfare Fund monies.

Montshwari was interdicted through a letter dated December 16, 2014 signed by colonel Robert Phetogo (retired) on behalf of the commander of the BDF.

The letter also orders Montshwari to report for master parade, request for permission from his commanding officer when leaving the camp and apply for leave if he so wishes.

The Attorney General (AG) is cited as the first respondent in the matter while the BDF commander and Phetogo are cited as the second and third respondents respectively.

In Montshwari’s notice of motion, the applicant through his attorneys Ndawana & Company is seeking an order declaring that his continued interdiction from work is unlawful, wrongful and unreasonable.

He also wants the court to set aside his interdiction, seeks any further or alternative relief and costs of the suit.  In the respondents’ answering affidavit, the AG who is representing second and third respondents avers that the stealing by servant charge levied against the applicant is true and accurate.

“…The interdiction from duty was due to an ongoing investigation conducted by Botswana Police Service (BPS) in relation to fraudulent and or misappropriation of BDF Welfare Trust Fund monies with a view to instituting criminal proceedings after such an investigation. The case was handled by detective  Superintendent Chepete,” the respondents stated.

The respondents added: “The BPS docket has been handed over to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution… The applicant is facing criminal charges and investigations have been completed… The interdiction is not indefinite. The case have (sic) been prolonged due to the complexity of the investigations. The investigations involved hundreds of fund members, non-members as well as civilians who are scattered all over the country”.

The case, the AG argues, involves several financial institutions and scores of bank accounts each having multiple transactions.

“The investigations, which subsequently resulted in the interdiction and ultimately the prosecution was therefore lawful… In terms of Section 117 (2) of the BDF Act, the person so interdicted shall during the period of such interdiction, be paid such portion of his salary not less than half the salary.

The applicant is paid 75% of his salary and the 25% is withheld lawfully in terms of the foregoing. We therefore pray that the applicant is not entitled to the reliefs sought on the basis that the application lacks merit and it stands to be dismissed with costs.” When the matter appeared for arguments before Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo on Friday, the applicant’s attorneys said that they would stand by the heads of argument they filed December last year. The AG also stated that it would stand by its heads, which they filed in January this year.

Nyamadzabo would deliver the ruling on points in limine on June 4, 2019.

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