Barely days after the Court of Appeal (CoA) released local businessman, Bakang Seretse’s property Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) has pounced on it.
The same amount and properties including plots of land and cars have been held by the State’s Receiver and was supposed to be released following the court order.
However, in a twist of events the businessman was left with a shocker when the Receiver, Bafi Nlana wrote to to him to the effect that there would be no monies released to him following recent his court victory. In a letter dated May 4, 2022 addressed to Seretse’s attorney Ngakaagae & Company from the Receiver, it is stated that the funds have been transferred to the BURS account at the instruction of the Commissioner.
“We have decided to comply with the Commissioner General’s Notice and directed the Bank to pay the said funds into the BURS account as directed by the Commissioner General. We were, therefore unable to comply with your demand to remit the said amounts into your Trust Account,” reads the letter.
Further in the letter, the Receiver said he did not immediately respond to the letter from Seretse demanding the release of the funds because by the time he received it, it was too close to the time Seretse’s attorney had indicated he would be in the office to collect keys to the properties in their possession.
The Receiver also explained that while they were waiting for the collection of keys, the Commissioner General of BURS directed them to pay funds belonging to Seretse into the tax agency's account indicating that the said funds were tax due and payable to the BURS served with notice.
Seretse in a brief conversation with this publication said he was shocked at the development but stated that he was not surprised at the reality of the situation.
“Well I cannot say I am surprised, in a way we kind of expected the state to pull off such a thing. They took all the money. BURS took the transaction amount of P250m and multiplied it by 200 percent and that is tax owed to them. They said it is tax and penalties,” he said.
Seretse also said at the moment there was nothing he could do as the matter was still fresh and he needed to engage with his attorneys for a way forward.
On the other property that didn’t include funds, Seretse said it was also a mystery to him why they were not released as directed by the order of the court.
He said they might be forced to approach the court again as the State was clearly defying a final court order to release all his properties.
Seretse has been battling money laundering, corruption and cheating the public charges after he was pointed as the mastermind of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) financial scandal.
His 27 seized assets, which include high valued residential plots, top of the range vehicles with an estimated value of P82m, have been held by the Receiver under a restraint order obtained by the State and were to be released after a court order issued last Friday by the CoA.
Some of the assets that were to be released included a Maserati Ghibli, two Mercedes Benz sedans, a Lexus LX, a Toyota Rav4, a Ford Ranger, a Volvo XC 90, a Land-cruiser 4.5, a Toyota Hilux, a Ford Fiesta, a Subaru station wagon, a VW Polo and a Rolls Royce Phantom, Weylands Furniture and fittings, Lease Area 181-KO, Plot No. 4890 Extension11, Plot No. 2565 Thema1, Lobatse, Plot No. 16403, Gaborone West, Rolex GMT Master 1 Watch, 14 pieces of Gym Equipment, Farm & Gardening Equipment 9pieces, 2× Farmtrack 6030 2WD & 2x Diclar Trailer, 28.0 KVA Ultra Silent Generator (380v), 7piece lawn mower equipment, VW Polo B938 AZB and many others.