“Phumaphi stole my farm”

Kabelo Dipholo

Old man accuses former Judge of forging his signature in land dispute

Francistown Land Tribunal President, Bannister Mokakangwe, has dismissed a matter in which former High Court Judge, Mphapi Passevil Phumaphi is accused of fraudulently acquiring land in Borolong.

In a matter that did not go to trial, Mokakangwe ruled that the case was not properly before court and thus was left with no choice but to dismiss it.

The complainant, Modise Ntwaagae, an elderly gentleman in his 70s, revealed that in 2008, he entered into a contractual agreement with Phumaphi with the intent to sell his farm.

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“I had three pieces of land, and the agreement was for Phumaphi to buy only one piece. To my surprise, he fenced all three plots. The gardens were never included in the deal, as in fact the other garden belongs to my child,” he told court.

“The agreement was P400, 000 for the 9.5h plot, not the garden as he claims,” insisted Ntwaagae.

The frail elder, who had no legal representation, told court he has been knocking on Ngwato and Tonota Sub Landboard doors for ‘many years’ without success.

“I’ve written letters to them, and I’ve arrived at a conclusion that they’re afraid of Phumaphi,” he said.

Although he admitted to signing the contract without reading it, Ntwaagae maintained his verbal agreement with the internationally renowned judge was over the 9.5h plot only.

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The old man added that while he failed to thoroughly study the contract before signing, he’s certain no transfer process ever took place.

“He’s not telling the truth that transfer of plots is final. How’s that possible without my signature? He forged my signature, and he should show me proof,” charged Ntwaagae.

Interjecting, Mokakangwe asked the complainant whether he knew the implications of his signature on the contract.

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“You’ve signed. Do you know what that means?” he asked.

“What do you want, since it shows you sold the dairy farm?” enquired Mokakangwe.

“I do not dispute that, but I’m telling this court that I’ve never discussed the other two plots, Phumaphi knows that,” Ntwaagae reiterated.

In his defence, Phumaphi, who was also representing himself, said transfer of the disputed plots was done at Marapong Landboard immediately after the transaction.

“He sold the three plots at P300, 000 and P100, 000 [for the two gardens]. I later bought other neighbouring plots and have consolidated them to become one plot,” Phumaphi told court.

“The property was transferred to me, surveyed and he has been fully paid. I just came here to comply with court but I don’t think there’s case,” he added.

Before dismissing the matter, Mokakangwe advised Ntwaagae to follow the right channels in registering his complaint. He explained he should start with the sub land board, then the main land board before coming to the Tribunal.

“You’ve skipped two stages. This matter is not here procedurally so is dismissed,” he concluded.

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