Home Court Stories Defaulting BDP Councillor narrowly escapes jail

Defaulting BDP Councillor narrowly escapes jail

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LUCKY ESCAPE: Kelepi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)Councilor Dumani Kelepi was this week nearly thrown in jail for failing to comply with the court order to pay child maintenance.

A warrant of arrest was issued against Kelepi last week after he failed to clear the arrears of P12 800.

He managed to settle the arrears but Francistown Magistrate Cele Lebakeng was not amused that the civic leader disobeyed a court order with impunity.

Lebakeng told the councillor that nobody is above the law. “So a warrant of arrest was issued against you but you decided to disregard it. I suspect that you got a tip off from police officers. You have people within Gerald police. Tell me the truth nothing else,” said the furious magistrate.

Kelepi then told court he was misled by council standing orders. “Our council standing orders state that we are immune to arrest when attending full council sessions. Masunga police came to council chambers and attempted to arrest me but I told them that I will hand over myself after the session is complete. When I went to the police station I was told to go back home and look for the arrears so that I can pay” decried the councilor.

The magistrate asked Kelepi how he advocated for people when he failed to support his own child. She added: “That is sheer disrespect. I issue a warrant of arrest and you don’t come to court. You choose who to respect and who not to respect. You cleared the arrears and didn’t bother coming to court and it is clear you didn’t want to come to court.”

“I wonder why you were not detained. What worries me is the way the matter was treated. Is that the impression you want to create in society that councilors can do as they please and get away with it,” quizzed Lebakeng.

Lebakeng was determined to detain Kelepi but after some few hours in the court room, lady luck smiled at the councilor as he only got away with a verbal warning to never disregard court orders in the future.