BDP Parliamentary Candidate in Dubious Land Transactions
- Modiri Lucas fails to honour payments to plot buyers
- BDP wanted to keep it secret during primary elections
- He is to appear before court in April
- Mmolotsi, Balopi and Kgathi tried to intervene
- He says people want to tarnish his name
Skeletons are tumbling out of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown South parliamentary hopeful Modiri Jojo Lucas’ closet as some people drag him to court on allegations that he swindled them of their hard earned money after failing to honour the agreements in the sale of plots he was facilitating; court documents reveal.
A self-proclaimed estate agent, Lucas sells plots in and around Francistown and acts as the middle man between plot owners and potential buyers. However, this publication has spoken to at least two buyers who allege that Lucas took their money and left them with no plots in return.
Pungi Keganetswe, 39, was almost in tears as she narrated how Lucas took P56, 000.00 from her with the promise of a plot in Chadibe but has not delivered two years after the transaction. According to Keganetswe, the money was paid to Lucas in 2016 for a plot that was priced at P65, 000.00 and after paying P56, 000.00 she asked Lucas to change ownership of the plot to her name, only to realise that the plot was not in Lucas’ name but belonged to another person. Keganetswe said she approached the owner of the plot who revealed that Lucas had indeed bought the plot from her but failed to pay the full amount and as such she was not willing to hand over her plot. Keganetswe offered to pay off the balance that was owed by Lucas so the plot can be transferred into her name but that only marked the beginning of her problems.
The Marapong sub-land board refused to hand over the plot to Keganetswe after they established the owner did not have any other plot in the country. Lucas is said to have then offered to pay back the money and even signed an acknowledgment of debt agreement (which this publication is in possession of) and promised to refund the P56, 000.00 in three months. The acknowledgement of debt bears the stamp of Lucas’ lawyers, Molosiwa Attorneys. Keganetswe said Lucas only paid P15, 000.00 and disappeared. Keganetswe approached one Member of Parliament who advised her to ask Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi to intervene since he is closer to Lucas in Francistown. When Mmolotsi approached him, it is alleged, Lucas did not take it kindly as he felt the issue was being politicised.
After several attempts to resolve the impasse Mmolotsi gave up and handed over the matter to BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi and his deputy Shaw Kgathi. Keganetswe said Balopi called her just before the BDP primary elections in Francistown begging her to keep the matter a secret as it had the potential to negatively affect Lucas’ performance in the elections. ‘‘Balopi promised that they will sort out the matter on the Monday after the weekend of the primary elections but he has since disappeared’’, a distraught Keganetswe said in an interview. Keganetswe has now engaged attorney Ignatius Motsamai of Motsamai Legal Practitioners to recover the remaining P41, 000.00 from Lucas and the case is scheduled for court on 23 April in Gaborone.
In another incident, Gaborone resident Shangano Shakes Tsayang alleged that Lucas has been playing hide and seek with him for the past three years. He said his relationship with Lucas started in 2013 when he bought a plot through Lucas as the middleman. Two years later, Tsayang had financial obligations that he wanted to meet and decided to sell the plot. He approached Lucas to sell the plot on his behalf for P22, 000.00 but Lucas told him there was a potential buyer who wanted to buy the plot at P20, 000.00. Tsayang says that he agreed to the P20, 000.00 offer but further alleges that Lucas gave him P15, 000.00 and asked him to surrender the plot certificate, promising that the remaining P5, 000.00 would be paid after the transferring the title to the new buyer . He explained that It countless follow ups for Lucas to eventually pay P2, 500.00 in September 2015. This was reportedly followed by P500 and P800 the following year, 2016. Since then, Tsayang alleges he has been chasing after Lucas for the remaining P1, 200.00. He said there were times when Lucas would just pick his calls but continue talking to other people, while his airtime got depleted.
Out of frustration, Tsayang said he posted about Lucas’ debt and behaviour on the popular ‘Fight Crime in Gaborone’ Facebook page. Tsayang said it was then that he received a call from Lucas asking him to remove the post and promising to pay him in two days. Tsayang said he later received a letter of demand from Lucas’ lawyer claiming damages for defamation. Tsayang engaged his lawyers at Legal Guard who wrote back informing Lucas that they will defend the defamation case and that was the end of their correspondence.
In a telephone interview on Monday last week, Lucas denied that he owes Keganetswe but would not comment further when told that a case has been registered against him in court and scheduled for April 23.
As for Tsayang’s case, Lucas said his lawyer has advised him not to talk about him because he has taken him to court for defamation. He however revealed that he is suing Tsayang for P300, 000.00 and that he was certain of a win. When asked if Mmolotsi, Balopi or Kgathi have ever confronted him, Lucas could only talk about Mmolotsi, saying ‘‘I know Mmolotsi desperately wants to come back to the BDP and I will honour him and appoint him as my campaign manager. This is all politics to tarnish me ahead of the general elections.” BDP Deputy Secretary General Shaw Kgathi said he knew about Lucas’s issue but ‘‘not much’’ about the details.