FIRM CLAIMS IT WAS CONTRACTED TO SPY ON THE LATE MD AND SIDE CHICK
A disgruntled private investigator firm, Infotrac has dragged Debswana Diamond Mining Company to court for an alleged P110 million debt.
According to the cause of action suit filed on August 24th 2020 at the Gaborone High Court, Infotrac was hired to spy on the late Debswana Managing Director, Albert Milton and his junior staff member,Candy Godiwe and compile a report on their suspected illicit love affair.
Court papers seen by The Voice have also indicated that the late MD was further accused of favoritism, especially towards female employees, an allegation that Infotrac had alleged they were verbally contracted by Debswana to probe.
“The material terms of the oral consultancy service agreement between the parties were, inter allia, following that the plaintiff (Infotrac) would at special instances and request of the defendant (Debswana), render to the defendant, consultancy services, in the form of investigation of an alleged love relationship between Mr. Albert Milton and Candy Godiwe, as well as favoritism at work by the latter by the former,” reads the cause of action suit.
The firm further alleged that they were mandated to deliver the consultancy services before November 2018.
“The defendant failed, refused, neglected to discharge its obligation by failing to make full payment or any part thereof for services rendered to it in respect of the parties’ oral consultancy agreement and thus in breach of the parties agreement. The defendants further engaged a third party to facilitate discussions pertaining to settlement of the initial claim,” further reads the suit in part.
Milton was appointed MD of Debswana in December 2018.
Barely eight months at the helm, the MD mysteriously died at a hotel in South Africa and was certified dead at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
In a notice to defend, Debswana denied the terms of the contract entered into between Infotrac and themselves and further argued that what they had contracted the firm for they had paid for.
Debswana further stated in their court submission that, “In the event that the services which are the subject matter of the plaintiff’s claim were In fact rendered, such services were not rendered to the defendant but were rendered personally to the late Albert Milton and or Tshepang Mazwigila and not the defendant (Debswana).”
Meanwhile The Voice has intercepted a strong worded letter from Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) dated 26 August 2020 demanding an urgent meeting with management of Debswana to discuss,“ Shameful and embarrassing,” practice of spying on employees.
The letter followed suspension of three top senior managers- including amongst others head of Security at Debswana head office, head of Security in Jwaneng- the union has labels Debswana as ‘shameful and embarrassing’
“The union has confirmation indicating that on or about September 2018, Debswana procured surveillance ‘spy’ equipment which were installed at its premises and in vehicles with intention to spy on staff,” reads the demand letter from the union.
“This is not the first time Debswana has purported to install spy equipment in the workplace, the courts have previously ruled against this invasion of employee’s privacy through placing of cameras and other devices in the workplace,” the letter has further stated.
In response to questions from The Voice on the matter, Debswana said in a statement, “It is also not Debswana’s practice to divulge information regarding its contractual relationships with third parties, or even information regarding whether or not a contractual relationship exists between Debswana and a third party. Additionally, Debswana also does not divulge information regarding its employees.”
“We can confirm that a demand for payment was received by Debswana, from lawyers acting for Infotrac. The amount demanded was very substantial. Debswana’s position remains as communicated by Debswana’s Attorneys to Infotrac. Furthermore, we can confirm that the company has suspended three senior managers, on full pay. The business has taken all risks into account in making this decision.”
Further commenting on allegations that Debswana spies on its employees the diamond mining company said, “With regard to purchase of spy equipment, Debswana does not sanction its security spying on employees. Furthermore, senior leadership is not aware of any spying on employees, nor would such be sanctioned. Knowledge regarding the purchase of the alleged equipment came out as a result of the whistle-blowing report received, as well as the ensuing investigation. ”
The case is one of many that Infotrac has threatend will be brought against Debswana in future.
The dispute insiders say, is likely to expose secrets of Debswana and its bosses to the public.