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Bame Piet

Borehole driller squares off in court with Molale over P77.520.00 debt

The Minister of Public Works Eric Molale’s name dominated proceedings at the Gaborone High Court where the Managing Director of OD Drilling, Joseph Boakgomo was seeking intervention in a quest for a payment of P77, 520.80 from Molale

Boakgomo told Justice Tshepho Motswagole that he entered into an agreement with Molale in February 2013 for him to drill a borehole at the latter’s farm in Barolong Farms.

He said on the 23rd of February he started the drilling with guidance and instructions from Geo Exploration Pty Ltd, a land surveying company engaged by Molale.

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However, the borehole did not produce enough water, but Molale still paid P88, 401.00 in two separate instalments, in February and December for the services rendered “He still owes me 60 thebe from that invoice,” Boakgomo told the court.

He said Molale summoned him and a certain Appa Rao (deceased) of Geo Exploration to his home in Gaborone on the evening of the February 26th, where he expressed disappointment with Geo Exploration’s failure to pick a high yielding spot.

According to Boakgomo, Molale then instructed Geo Exploration to go back and re-survey the farm for another drilling spot the following day, and for him to drill the second borehole.

“ We took instructions from Molale and commenced drilling on the afternoon of February 27th, which produced enough water four days later on March 1st.

He said when he informed the then Permanent Secretary to the President about the P77.520.00 Bill, he started avoiding him for several weeks.

“It was impossible to meet him since he said he was busy with DeBeers negotiations with the Government. You can’t have access to him without an appointment. So, one day I waited for him at the Office of the President until he came out and that’s when I gave him the Invoice. He kept on promising to pay, but he never did,” he said.

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Boakgomo then issued a summons in May 2016 after several unsuccessful attempts to have the PSP pay him.

However, Molale has denied ever instructing the two companies to survey or drill a second borehole. His lawyer Admire Moyo said there was never such a meeting on the 26th February to which Boakgomo responded; “He is a liar, a big liar. How on earth would Geo Exploration go and do survey over 200 km from Gaborone if not instructed by a client?”

The lawyer also said the claim has expired since Boakgomo took too long to demand it.

A former employee of Geo Exploration corroborated Boakgomo’s testimony saying his boss; Rao told him that Molale had instructed them to conduct another survey for a second borehole on February 27th.

He had queries as to why it was possible to drill deeper and get low supply water, only to get a high supply in a shallow borehole despite an insignificant distance between the two.

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An expert witness – a Geologist and Geo-physician with 33 years experience in water survey, Mogakolodi Lekanyane said the Barolong Farms area has a low yield and it is normal to hit a blank, and get a good produce just a few meters apart. This, he said was due to underground layers that humans cannot see with a naked eye.

The minister did not attend the proceedings and there is no indication that he will be called to testify.

His lawyers said they want their client to be absolved from responsibility for the second borehole since there was no agreement whatsoever on its depth, casing etc, but Boakgomo was adamant that the agreement was based on the terms of the first quotation and that it was at Molale’s instructions that they drill it.

Judgment is expected soon.

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