BHC rushes to court to block P300M property seizer

  •  Friday judgment critical for BHC
  • All BHC vehicles attached to pay P300 million BDF college debt


 The Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) on Monday launched proceedings at the High Court for a Stay of Execution of an Order that required them to pay a debt in excess of P300 million. C.P.M Architecture, a consultancy company was engaged by BHC for the construction of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) training school in Paje had invoked the dispute resolution provisions of their tender and referred their claim to arbitration. Justice Tebogo Tau of Lobatse High Court last month declined to overturn the arbitrators award and ruled that BHC had failed to establish the legal requirements needed to challenge the award. BHC had sought to challenge the arbitrator’s assessment which Tau J held was not reviewable. A stay of execution is a court order to temporarily suspend the execution of a court judgment while an appeal or other legal proceedings are being launched.

Tau last month ruled that “the assessor gave a fair consideration and conducted the proceedings in a proper manner,” while also finding that BHC and the Attorney General “have failed to advance grounds upon which the award could be reviewed and set aside.”

The stay application follows last week’s drama at BHC headquarters when Sheriffs instructed by Patrick Matlho of Matlho Attorneys attached BHC property amounting to approximately P354 Million to settle a debt it owes his client- C.P.M.

The deputy sheriff attached all BHC vehicles including those of the CEO Reginald Motswaiso and his deputies Pascaline Sefawe and Nkaelang Matenge in accordance with a Writ of Execution on 25 September.

The Writ, a copy of which has been obtained by The Botswana Gazette authorised the Sheriff to attach movable goods owned by BHC and to sell them by public auction to recover the sum of two hundred and seventy eight million eight hundred and twenty nine thousand four hundred and seventy six Pula. The Writ was issued in accordance to a judg-

ment of court dated 31 August 2018 and authorised the recovery of 1.5 percent penalty interest per month of the above amount effective from 30 days after the assessor ‘s award on June 2017 to date of payment.

BHC this week argued that they ought to be given the temporary relief against the Court’s earlier judgement as they have appealed the decision and as such it is not prudent to pay the C.P.M while a final determination is yet to be made by

the Court of Appeal.

Matlho Attorneys argued on behalf of C.P.M. that they want the matter to be settled as the money continues to accrue interest everyday hence he advised BHC to settle the debt and lay the matter to rest. Tau will deliver judgement on the

Stay application this Friday.

C.P.M Architecture was engaged by BHC to carry out partial pre-contract Architectural Consultancy services up to stage 2 for the proposed officers training camp/infantry school at Paje in October 1999.

The original scope of work, according to documents in this publication’s possession “allowed for three sites and an airstrip within the camp.” The ‘cites were referred to as college, residential and Pan-

damatenga. The original budget for construction was P500 Million.” The BDF during the course of the contract abandoned some works provided for in the original scope.

The BDF in 2012 suspended the project without informing the consultants for over 2 years, who continued to fulfil their terms of contract without instruction from both BDF and BHC to cease.