Above the law?

Kabelo Dipholo

In the early ’90s Bangash Amanullah Khan was a Director at one of Botswana’s biggest textile companies, Javeria Garments.

The 79-year-old Pakistani national owned a 5 percent stake in the company head-quartered in Gaborone, and for over 15 years was in charge of their shop in Francistown.

Fast forward to today, Khan’s health is failing, his bank balance in an even worse state than his aging body.

He feels betrayed by his former colleagues, left out in the cold to fend for himself.

“I need help. I’m almost 80, and have worked hard in this country creating employment, and this is how I’m being repaid,” an emotional Khan told The Voice in a heartfelt interview.

The Pakistani, who prides himself on opening Javeria outlets in Harare and Lusaka during his two decades journey with the company, revealed his troubles began on 8 March 2017, while running errands for the business in Serowe.

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“I was driving a Toyota Corolla when I hit a donkey; the car rolled leaving me with serious injuries,” he recalled.

Khan fractured his left clavicle, while the right was swollen.

This acute clavicle fracture left the old man in need of round-the-clock medical attention.

“Healthcare is very expensive, and I don’t have money,” sobbed Khan.

Despite his financial situation, Khan was awarded P72, 000 Workman’s Compensation by the Labour Office on 19 April 2017.

He maintains he has not seen a Thebe of that money.

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“What followed was a game of cat and mouse as Javeria Directors simply refused to pay me!”

Khan said he complained to the police, Labour Office and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to no avail.

“The Javeria Directors should have long appeared before a Magistrate, but for some reason the police are unable to bring them. I wonder if they’re above the law,” charged Khan.

Responding to one of his complaints, DPP Deputy Director, Oteng Thamuku admitted their attempts to get the police to bring the Javeria bigwigs to court had failed.

“Consequently there’s no further action that we can take as the file was returned to the police; we can only act once we receive a response from the police,” wrote Thamuku to Khan.

“If I can’t get help from DPP and the police, where should I go?” he asked.

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A Director at the Francistown shop where Khan once worked, Rao Liang, who has a 10 percent shareholding in the business, confirmed he was aware of Khan’s situation but stressed there was very little he could do to assist.

“He no work for me. I come here he goes, talk to Kassim,” said Liang, who is of Chinese origin.

The Voice contacted the founder of Javeria Garments and the majority shareholder, Kassim Imran Mohammed, who according to CIPA has a 25 percent share allocation.

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mohammed runs Palm Continental Hotels and has property in both Sandton and Gaborone.

While he initially responded to the names Kassim Mohammed, his attitude changed completely at the mention of Khan.

“I’m sure you’ve got the wrong number,” he responded curtly before hanging up.

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