Divorced couple fight over pension benefits

Oleosi Kgosi
IN HAPPIER TIMES: Doreen and Modise

The Court of Appeal (CoA) has granted Botswana Defence Force Head of Military Intelligence, Modise Tlhage, the green light to challenge a High Court decision that awarded his ex-wife, Doreen Tlhage (nee Manopole), part of his unaccrued pension benefits as joint estate at the time of their divorce.

Tlhage (55) and Doreen (45) got married in community of property in August 2009 only for their union to end in a bitter divorce three years ago.

At the time, Modise was still an employee of the Botswana Government with his pension being managed by the Botswana Public Officers’ Pension Fund Act (BPOPF) as of date.

The CoA bench comprising Justices Tebogo Tau, Isaac Lesetedi and Godfrey Nthomiwa, reviewed the High Court’s order that Modise’s pension benefits, being the accumulated value, credit or amount sitting for the benefit of Modise in his pension fund, formed part of the couple’s joint matrimonial estate.

Furthermore, the High Court order suggested that ex-wife, Doreen, was entitled to 50% of her ex-husband’s pension credit available as at the date of divorce.

Correspondingly, the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund was directed to reduce and deduct Modise’s accumulated pension benefit to the extent of 50% and same to be paid to Doreen as her share of the joint estate within three months of the granting of the order.

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This, therefore, suggests that should Modise emerge successful beyond his appeal, his ex-wife’s hopes of walking away with a share of his ‘pension benefit’ will reach a dead end instantly.

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